A Quick Guide to The First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Nova Scotia

Quick Guide to First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Nova Scotia

Hey There, Future Homeowners! Ready to take the leap into buying your first home in Canada? It’s super exciting, but let’s be honest, it can feel like a bit of a maze. Let’s break down the first-time home buyer programs that Canada offers, making your journey to homeownership a bit smoother and definitely more affordable.

1. First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) *

Think of the FTHBI as a buddy who helps you with your down payment, so you don’t feel the monthly mortgage pinch quite as much. This program chips in 5-10% of the home’s purchase price, which can be a game-changer for your budget. Just keep in mind that it’s a shared equity mortgage – more like a partnership than a freebie. For more in depth information on this program click here.

2. RRSPs: Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

Saving money in your RRSPs? The HBP lets you borrow up to $35,000 from it, tax-free, to fund your home purchase. It’s like giving your past self a high-five for being so savings-savvy!  If you are buying a home with a partner, they can also utilize this program allowing you to take a combined $70,000 from your RRSP’s.  Click here for more information on the HBA program.

3. First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

The FHSA is a recent addition to the toolkit for first-time homebuyers in Canada, offering an innovative way to save for that all-important down payment. It’s a special account where you can save up to $40,000 towards your first home – with some pretty sweet tax advantages. Click here for more information on the HBA program.

4. GST/HST New Housing Rebate

This rebate allows first-time homebuyers to recover some of the GST or HST paid on the purchase of a new home, substantially reducing the overall cost. Eligibility depends on whether the home is to be the primary place of residence. Click here for more information on the HBA program.

5. The Nova Scotia Down Payment Assistance Program (DPAP)

This program is like a helpful neighbor, ready to give you a leg up with your down payment. It offers interest-free, repayable loans to first-time home buyers in Nova Scotia, helping you cover up to 5% of the purchase price of your new home. The best part? It’s designed to be flexible, catering to both new construction and existing homes. Plus, if you’re buying in Halifax, the maximum purchase price limit might surprise you – it’s pretty generous! Just remember, this program has its criteria, so make sure you check out all the details. Click here for more information on the HBA program.

6. First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit (HBTC)

The HBTC is like a little ‘thank you’ from the government for buying a home. The HBTC is a non-refundable tax credit that can help recover a portion of your closing costs, such as legal expenses, inspections, and land transfer taxes. This credit is worth up to $750 and can provide a little financial relief after the home purchase.

Myth – “A 5% down payment is only for first-time home buyers”

Contrary to what many people believe, a 5% down payment is not exclusive to first-time home buyers. This down payment is instead reserved for anyone who intends to “owner occupy” a property. It is possible that you can actually buy a second or third property with 5% down if you turn your existing residence into a rental.


Navigating the world of first-time home buying in Canada is less daunting when you’re aware of the programs designed to assist you. From equity sharing schemes and withdrawal plans to tax rebates and credits, there’s a range of support available to ease your journey to homeownership. It’s always advisable to consult with a mortgage broker to understand how these programs can specifically benefit you in your unique situation.

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