Rebates and tax saving tips for first-time home buyers

List of cost saving rebates and grants

Buying your first home is a huge investment and a big decision. Between saving up for downpayment and understanding mortgages it is easy to forget other costs involved in owning a home. When assessing your situation, it is important to know that there is a broad range of cost-saving programs available to help you.

Always seek professional legal & tax advice if you have any questions.

Home Buyers’ Plan: Registered Retirement Savings for down payments
Canada Revenue Agency’s Home Buyers’ Plan lets qualifying home buyers use up to $25,000 of their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to buy a home. Couples can use up to $50,000. The home must be a principal residence, the home buyers must not have owned a home within the past five years and the loan must be repaid with 15 years.Disabled home buyers upgrading to a more accessible home also qualify as do relatives helping disabled home buyers. Home buyers who have already used the plan and have fully repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the plan a second time. Canada Revenue AgencyFor information: Home Buyers’ Plan 1-800-959-8287
High ratio mortgages on green properties
CMHC has added environmentally friendly features to the Mortgage Loan Insurance it offers. If you use CMHC insured financing to buy an energy-efficient home, purchase a house and make energy-saving renovations or renovate your existing home to make it more energy-efficient, a 10% refund on the Mortgage Loan Insurance premium may be available. You could also have the added flexibility of an extended amortization (up to a maximum of 30 years) without a premium surcharge. CMHCFor information: Green Home 
CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund
Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy savings renovations. For information: CMHC 604-731-5733
First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit
This is a non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation.It’s calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2011) by $5,000. For the 2011 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. Canada Revenue AgencyFor information: www.cra.gc.ca/hbtc 1-800-959-8281
HST Rebate on New Homes
New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. Canada Revenue AgencyFor information: HST-New housing rebate 1-800-959-8287
BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
Home buyers in BC pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PPT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the remainder.First-time home buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. Buyers can’t have previously owned a home anywhere in the world. BC Ministry of Small Business and RevenueFor information: Property Transfer Tax 250-387-0604
BC Home Owner Grant
Reduces school property taxes by up to $570 on properties with an assessed value up to $1,285,000.For 2011, the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of value over $1,150,000, and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,264,000+.An additional grant reduces property tax by a further $275 for a total of $845 for seniors, veterans and the disabled. This is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,285,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,319,000+. BC Ministry of Small Business and RevenueFor information: Home Owner Grant Or contact your local municiple tax office.
BC First-time New Home Buyer’s Bonus
First-time new home buyers may be eligible for a one-time grant equal to 5% of the purchase price of a home, if if you are building a home, 5% of the land and construction costs, up to $10,000. The bonus is based on the net income of the home buyer.  This program ends March 31, 2013. For information: First-time Buyers Fact Sheet 1-877-387-3332
BC New Housing Rebate (HST)
Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST, paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. For information: New Housing Rebate 1-800-959-8287
BC New Housing Rebate (HST) for Secondary Vacation or Recreational Homes
Buyers of new or substantially renovated secondary or recreational homes outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST, paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. For information: New Housing Rebate Secondary/Recreational 1-800-959-8287
Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
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