Southern Ontario is a beautiful place to be able to call home. Many regard Toronto as a prestigious and world-class city. The Niagara region is home to some of the best wines in the world. Of course, Niagara Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world. The area is also quite compact! All of these fantastic sights and experiences are within a few hours of each other. It’s quite obvious why so many people want to call southern Ontario home!


Unfortunately, the high demand for the region has put upward pressure on property prices. At $800,000 for an average single-family home, the Toronto area has some of the most expensive housing in the country. Topped only by Vancouver, Toronto’s housing market looks depressingly unaffordable. A family earning even a “good” salary of $100,000 would struggle to afford a decent starter home and pay for all the other necessities of life.


Families in search of quality housing would be well-advised to consider surrounding regions, instead of needing to buy within the Greater Toronto Area. Cities like London, Oshawa, Whitby, Windsor, and Barrie are fantastic places in which to raise a family. They also have the added benefit of having cheaper housing.


In one of our other blog posts, we talked about the first-time homebuyers’ incentive [1]. This program is unique in many ways. Essentially the way it works is that the government puts up 5% or 10% of the value of the property, depending on the type of home. The government provides this money through a shared equity “partnership.” You don’t need to pay back the money until you sell your home or your mortgage finishes. At that point, you would need to pay whatever current 5% or 10% value is.


The beauty of this program is that it often results in a win-win scenario. The homeowner has lower monthly mortgage payments for 25 years (because their total mortgage amount is reduced by 5 or 10%). If the property appreciates, the government gets more than their original investment back. Additionally, it makes homeownership seem more doable for many Canadians.

You can get more information on this program by clicking the following links to see our blog on the program itself.    and


Unfortunately, this program has a fatal flaw. The original terms of the first-time homebuyers’ incentive capped the purchase price at 4x the family’s household income. If you make $50,000 per year, the maximum home that would qualify for this benefit would be $200,000. This restriction meant that the maximum purchase price was about $500,000 – hardly enough to buy even a starter home in Toronto. The government has since relaxed the rules and allowed for 5x family income with a max salary of $150,000. While this does mean someone could claim the benefit for a $750,000 house, that still doesn’t quite work. Many Toronto homes are going for $1 million or more. Only reasonably small starter homes in the suburbs would be purchasable at $750,000 or less.


While the benefit may not seem substantial for the Toronto area, for surrounding regions, it works quite nicely. Consider the small city of Windsor. It’s a beautiful place to live, with good schools and low crime. It’s also fun to have Detroit right across the border for shopping and entertainment. The average home’s selling price in Windsor is just under $300,000. If you have $30,000 saved and you were to buy a new construction house, the government would be willing to put up $30,000 as a shared equity investment. Your total mortgage would be $240k with a monthly payment of about $1,100. As long as you had a job that qualified, this would be a reasonably realistic payment to make.


London, ON is another city in which the first-time homebuyers’ incentive would work. New construction properties are selling in the London region for under $500,000, which is the maximum amount available for the first-time homebuyers’ program. Again, as long as you had the job, buying one of these properties could result in a relatively reasonable monthly payment of less than $2,000!

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While the first-time homebuyers’ incentive program may not work exceptionally well for the greater Toronto area, it can make homeownership quite affordable in the surrounding regions. If you are willing to look at smaller cities like London or Windsor, you can often find fantastic properties at reasonable costs. More and more Canadians are working remotely for employers all across the world. Instead of being focused on buying a property in one city, by expanding the search radius, homeownership looks a lot more achievable.


The first-time homebuyers’ incentive is just one possibility. There are many other government programs available. For example, newcomers to Canada can obtain a mortgage with relaxed qualifications. If you are interested in buying a property and would like to learn more about all the government programs and incentives available, please contact a mortgage broker. Your mortgage broker will know all the latest rules and plans that are available. They will be able to sit down with you and learn more about your financial situation. You’ll be able to see exactly how much home you could realistically afford as well!


After deciding how much you can afford and what plans are available, look at all the cities that comprise southern Ontario. Picking one of the smaller ones might be your best path towards homeownership. Rather than fighting a crazy-high Toronto market, you might find that you can have a better quality of life in a city like Windsor or London. If you must remain in Toronto for work, consider Whitby or Burlington. It might be a long commute, but if it means being able to own a home, the trek each day might be worth it. Instead of throwing money away on rent, you can begin building equity. Once you have enough capital, you can always sell your home and buy a new place in Toronto. Speak with a mortgage broker and a real estate professional today to find out how you can get into your first home at a reasonable price!

By using a mortgage agent or mortgage broker from Citadel Mortgages, you will be able to ask all the questions you have and be ensured you get the best advice and mortgage product for your mortgage needs. Contact us here at Citadel Mortgages to become mortgage-free sooner!

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