Mortgage Basics #Home Buying

First Time Home Buyers Incentives in Manitoba



Key Takeaways

  • Manitoba has a few first-time homebuyer programs, mainly geared towards low-income households, like the Rural Homeownership Program.
  • There are a number of federal first time buyer programs available for Canadians in Manitoba as well.
  • Winnipeg has a number of neighborhoods where the average price of a home is around, or below, the $400,000 mark.

Manitoba First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

Manitoba has relatively few first time home buyer programs compared to other provinces, but it’s also one of the most affordable provinces to get a home in. At the moment, first time home buyer programs for Manitoba residents include the Rural Homeownership Program, the First Time Home Purchase Program for some Metis residents, and an Inner City Homebuyer Program in the city of Winnipeg, offered by Seed Winnipeg Inc.

While the provincial offering for Manitobans is relatively limited, it’s worth noting that there’s a range of First Time Home Buyer Programs in Canada at the federal level (outlined below). Ultimately, if you’re planning on buying your first home in Manitoba, it’s always worth doing some more digging into the city or municipality you’re moving to, as there may be more private programs for first time buyers available.

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Manitoba Rural Homeownership Program

The Rural Homeownership Program is offered by the Government of Manitoba, and is designed to help first-time buyers buy a home in selected rural areas, excluding urban centers where demand for rental properties already exists. Included in the program is down payment assistance, land transfer tax refunds, and grants. 

The program comprises two distinct streams, the Vacant Rural Homeownership Stream, and the ​​Tenant Rural Homeownership Stream. The former is there to help applicants purchase vacant homes owned by Manitoba Housing in certain rural communities. The Tenant Rural Homeownership Stream, on the other hand, helps Manitoba Housing tenants buy the single-detached home they are renting in communities where there is little or no opportunity to buy a home otherwise.

Eligible applicants can receive down payment assistance in two forms:

  • A loan for 10% of the purchase price of the home, forgivable on a pro-rate basis over five years. In other words, for every year that you own and live in the home as your principal residence, one-fifth of the down payment assistance will be forgiven. 
  • A loan for 15% of the home’s purchase price, forgivable after 15 years of continuous ownership and occupancy. In other words, if you own and live in your home for 15 years, you will not have to pay back the 15% down payment loan.

For example, if you buy a home with a value of $80,000, you will receive

  • 10% of the purchase price ($8,000), forgivable over five years, and
  • 15% of the purchase price ($12,000), forgivable over 15 years.
  • A total loan amount of $20,000, requiring a mortgage amount of $60,000

In addition, successful applicants could receive a non-repayable grant of $1,500 to assist with legal fees and other costs (e.g. home inspection, utility hook-up, moving costs), and, applicants may be able to get Manitoba Housing to cover their Land Transfer Taxes and Fees.

In terms of eligibility requirements, you may be eligible if:

  • You currently rent a home owned by Manitoba Housing in selected rural communities or
  • You want to purchase a vacant home owned by Manitoba Housing in selected rural communities
  • You currently don’t own a home or other property.
  • You qualify for a mortgage from a financial institution.
  • The home you purchase will be your principal residence.
  • Your household income does not exceed $63,450 for a household without children, or $84,600 for a household with children or dependents.

Federal First-Time Home Buyer Programs

Besides Edmonton’s and Calgary’s programs, first-time home buyers in Alberta have access to a wide range of federal assistance programs to help them purchase a property in Canada.

RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan

The RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan lets you take out up to $35,000 from your RRSP to put toward a downpayment on a home, which you’d then repay over a 15 year period. To qualify, you must be a first time homebuyer who is a Canadian resident at the time you withdraw funds from your RRSP, and up to the time a qualifying home is either bought or built. You also have to live in the home as your primary place of residence within the year after buying or building it. 

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

The federal First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit or ‘Home Buyer’s Amount’ is available for eligible first time homeowners. This incentive provides you and your spouse or common law partner up to $750 in tax rebates on the income you pay taxes on in the year you buy your home. 

If you have a disability and you claim the Disability Tax Credit on your tax return, you can also claim the First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit, even if you’ve already owned a home in the past. 

You will need to meet the following criteria, if this is the case:

  • You must claim the disability amount on your tax return in the same tax year that you purchase the home
  • The home must be suitable for the disabled person’s needs (ie your needs)
  • You have to occupy the home within one year of purchasing it

GST/HST New Housing Rebate

For new housing in Canada, the land transfer tax refund lets homebuyers recover some of the land-transfer tax paid after the first $368,000 on qualifying homes. To claim this rebate, you must be over the age of 18, and must not have owned a home, either in whole or part, prior to purchasing your property (this includes inherited properties). You must also intend to live in the property as your primary place of residence. The maximum refund you can receive is $4,000, and will be applied on qualifying homes over $368,000. For homes below that price, you would not pay any land transfer taxes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do first time home buyers have to put down in Manitoba?

Technically, the minimum down payment required as a first-time buyer anywhere in Canada is 5%, at least with most conventional mortgage lenders. In Manitoba, as in the rest of the country, CMHC requires 5% on homes valued at $500,000 or less. 10% for any portion of the price above $500,000 but below $1,000,000, and 20% for homes over a million.

Can any resident qualify as a first-time home buyer in Manitoba?

Qualifying as a first-time home buyer in Manitoba generally depends on the kind of program you’re applying for. If you’re applying for the Rural Homeownership Program, you don’t have to have reached any minimum presence requirements, you simply need to pass the other eligibility requirements. In other programs, like the First Time Home Purchase Program for eligible Metis residents, there is also no prior residency/presence requirement.

Popular Cities & Neighborhoods for First-Time Home Buyers in Manitoba

Most first-time buyers in Manitoba gravitate towards Winnipeg. While the Winnipeg housing market saw significant gains throughout COVID-19 and the months following, markets around Canada have begun to cool, and the city remains one of the most affordable large urban centers in Canada. Here’s a few of the most popular neighborhoods in Winnipeg, plus other cities for first-time buyers in Manitoba.

Winnipeg*
North Kildonan$418,034
Norwood Flats $344,385
North River Heights$520,255
West End $199,084
Westwood $397,537
Garden City$371,977
Transcona$437,035
Rest of Manitoba**
Brandon$302,500
Steinbach$332,567

*Source: WRREB

Final Thoughts

With the average cost of a home in Winnipeg hovering around the $400,000 mark this year, first-time buyers might want to consider Manitoba as a relatively affordable province compared to the rest of Canada. If you’re looking to get a mortgage in Manitoba for your first home, be sure to explore the first-time buyer incentives and programs available at the federal, provincial, and municipal level when you do.


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