4 Incentives for First-Time Buyers in Niagara

1. Welcome Home Niagara Home Ownership Program

The Niagara Region is again offering a 5% forgivable loan, to a maximum of $10,763, to qualified buyers with low to moderate incomes. Among other requirements, a buyer must not own an interest in other residential properties, and must currently be renting and looking to buy a principal residence. For more information, go to: http://www.nrh.ca; download the Welcome Home Niagara Fact Sheet.

2. Land Transfer Tax Refund for First Time Buyers

A first-time buyer can claim up to $2,000 in Ontario Land Transfer Tax, either by offsetting the tax when registering the home purchase or by claiming a refund later.

To qualify, a first-time buyer must be at least 18 year old, must occupy the home as a principal residence, and (this includes a spouse) cannot have owned a home or an interest in a home anywhere in the world.

If one or more of the buyers are not a first-time home purchaser, the refund will be reduced and apportioned to the interest acquired by the person who qualifies for the refund. For more information, visit: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca; search Land Transfer Tax Refund.

3. The home buyers' tax credit (HBTC)

The Home Buyers Tax Credit is non-refundable and calculated by multiplying the lowest income tax rate of 15% by a tax return claim of $5,000. The credit on $5,000 works out to $750. First time buyer conditions apply. That is, a buyer can not live in another home owned by the buyer, spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the previous four years.

A qualifying home includes a wide variety of existing homes and new construction--single family, condo, mobile and even income property, such as a duplex, triplex or apartment building.

The buyer must occupy the home, and when two people buy jointly, the tax claim can be split but cannot exceed $5,000 and the credit cannot exceed $750. A person with a disability can also qualify for and claim the Home Buyer Tax Credit. For more information, visit: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca and search Home Buyers Tax Credit.

4. The RRSP Home Buyers Plan

With the Home Buyers Plan a buyer can withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home. The amount has to be repaid into the RRSP annually over the first 15 years. The home purchased has to be occupied as a buyer’s principal residence within one year of buying.

First-time buyer conditions apply. That is, he or she cannot have owned a home for 5 years prior to using RRSP’s for a home purchase. People with disability are exempt from the first-time buyer requirement. For more information go to: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca and search Home Buyers Plan.

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