If you’re looking to buy a home, the current real estate environment can be very daunting.Between the pandemic, rising inflation, and the housing crisis, becoming a homeowner seemsmore unattainable than ever. In this article, you will find an overview of…
Saskatchewan is a beautiful province known for its wide open prairies and friendly inhabitants. It’s also one of the more affordable provinces in Canada. If you’re looking to buy a new home and want an alternative to big city living, Saskatchewan might be the right place for you. A great place to raise a family, Saskatchewan boasts some of the cheapest average housing prices in the country, and doesn’t sacrifice amenities or quality of living in the process. To help you get started in your Saskatchewan househunt, here’s a list of some of the best first time home buyer incentives in the province.
- Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s most affordable provinces to buy a first property in. The residential benchmark price as of January 2022 was just under $285,000.
- There are a number of different incentives and programs available for residents of Saskatchewan who are buying their first home, at both the provincial and federal level.
- Cities like Saskatoon and Regina, plus smaller cities like Lloydminster, Warman, and Moose Jaw are some popular destinations for first time buyers.
Saskatchewan First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit
Saskatchewan’s First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit is a non-refundable income tax credit of up to $1,050, for eligible taxpayers on qualified homes in the province purchased after December 31, 2011. The eligibility for this credit mirrors those of the existing federal First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. Saskatchewan’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit is calculated by applying the provincial tax credit rate of 10.5% to the first $10,000 of an eligible home purchase, whereas the federal tax credit ($750) is calculated by applying the federal tax credit rate of 15% to the first $5,000 of an eligible home purchase. It is possible to get both of these tax credits at the same time when purchasing a new home in Saskatchewan, as long as you’re eligible.
To be eligible for this provincial first time home buyer incentive, the individual purchasing the home (and their spouse or common law partner jointly purchasing it) must not have already owned a home, either fully or partially, within five years prior to the purchase of the new property. Additionally, you (and your spouse or common law partner) must occupy the home within one year of purchase. Your home will be eligible for Saskatchewan’s First Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit if it is a new build or existing home located somewhere in the province. Qualifying homes can include:
- Mobile homes
- Condos and apartments
To claim the credit, use form SK428 in your tax return in the tax return for the calendar year in which you purchased your home.
Note: if you received a loan through the Graduate Retention Program First Home Plan, you cannot claim Saskatchewan’s First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit.
Saskatchewan First Home Plan – Graduate Retention Program
The Graduate Retention Program provides rebates of up to $20,000 on tuition fees for graduates who live in, or are moving to, Saskatchewan, and remain there for seven years following graduation. Your rebate is based on the tuition you paid, as indicated on T2202A tax receipts issued by your post-secondary institution. Be sure you double check whether your school is included on the Government of Canada’s list of approved post-secondary institutions.
|Tuition Rebate Amount|
|1 year Certificate, Diploma or Journeyperson||$3,000|
|2 or 3 year Certificate or Diploma||$6,400|
|3 year Undergraduate Degree||$15,000|
|4 year Undergraduate Degree||$20,000|
Many in-province schools will apply on your behalf after you graduate, however, you will need to provide them consent to do so. If you are close to graduating, check with your institution to see how to provide consent. If you studied at an institution that either doesn’t apply for you or is located outside of Saskatchewan, you have to submit an application directly to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education.
As part of the Graduate Retention Program, the provincial government also announced the First Home Plan, which allows eligible post-secondary graduates to borrow up to $10,000 of their unused Graduate Retention Program tax credits to put towards a downpayment on a first home. To be eligible, you must be a first-time homebuyer or have not owned a home in the last five years. If you bought your first home on or after May 1, 2016, you could be eligible for the First Home Plan in Saskatchewan.
Federal First-Time Home Buyer Programs
As well as Saskatchewan’s provincial programs, there are a number of plans and incentives available at the federal level to help first-time homebuyers. Here are some of the federal home buyer plans available to residents of Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada.
RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan
The RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan allows you to take out up to $35,000 from your RRSP to put toward a downpayment on a home, which you would 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 occupy the home as your principal place of residence within the year after buying or building it.
First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit
As we mentioned earlier, the federal First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit (also known as the Home buyer’s amount) is also 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 allows homebuyers to recoup some of the land-transfer tax paid after the first $368,000 on qualifying homes. To claim the refund, you must be over the age of 18, and have not owned a home or stake in a home prior to purchasing your property (including inherited properties). You must also intend to live in the property as your primary place of residence. The maximum refund 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.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much do first time home buyers have to put down in Saskatchewan?
It depends. Generally, it’s a good idea to put down a minimum of 10% as a downpayment, otherwise you’ll be left with a high loan-to-value ratio, and will pay more interest over time for your home. Ideally, you would be able to put down 20% or more, since mortgages with a higher loan-to-value ratio than this will need to be insured, and these payments can add up fast. With that being said, Saskatchewan has one of the more affordable housing markets in Canada, with a residential benchmark price for a home of about $284,500, according to RE/MAX. Average house prices in Saskatoon – the province’s most populous city – are around the $350,000 mark. A downpayment of 5%, the minimum for houses in Canada under $500,000, would therefore be $17500 in Saskatoon.
Note: The City of Saskatoon provides a 5% downpayment grant towards certain entry-level houses, known as the Mortgage Flexibilities Support Program. Learn more about the program’s eligibility here.
Can any resident qualify as a first-time home buyer in Saskatchewan?
Different homebuyer incentives and plans in Saskatchewan have their own conditions for eligibility, but in general, to qualify as a first-time homebuyer in Saskatchewan, you must: be a resident of Saskatchewan; have not owned a home or a partial stake in another property within the last five years prior to purchasing your home; you must live in the property you purchase as your primary residence; finally, the property must be located in Saskatchewan.
Popular Cities & Neighborhoods for First-Time Home Buyers in Saskatchewan
As one of the cheapest provinces in the country in terms of living costs, Saskatchewan offers many Canadians a great place to start their homeownership journey. Here are some of the popular locations for first time homebuyers in Saskatchewan.
|Average Home Prices in Saskatchewan, January 2022|
Source: RE/MAX (*Source: Boyes Group Realty)
Offering a great balance of low cost-of-living, nature, professional opportunities, and culture, Saskatchewan is a great alternative to the higher cost of living of some other Canadian cities and provinces. Despite record high housing prices in other parts of the country like Ontario and BC, Saskatchewan remains a relatively cool market. First time home buyers – particularly recent graduates and low-income households – have a number of incentives available to help them get into Saskatchewan’s real estate market in 2022, from provincial rebates to federal programs. If you’re looking to buy your first home in the province and want to speak to our trained mortgage professionals, get in touch with the team today.
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