Great news is that there were no big surprises that will immediately impact our real estate markets in the April 7th budget. For now, let’s focus on Budget announcements that could touch us as Buyers, Sellers or Homeowners. There are some specific initiatives put forward that will help more Buyers get into the market which in turn will sustain future market resiliency for Sellers.
While the 2022 Federal Budget must still receive Parliamentary approval, here are key proposals within the Budget that touch on our housing markets:
1. Introduction of a Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA) - Designed to help First Time Home Buyers, Taxpayer Account Holders will be able to contribute up to $8,000 per year towards the purchase of a first home. An FHSA combines the features of both an RRSP and a TFSA.
• Like a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), contributions will be eligible for an income tax deduction and the money will grow tax free inside the account.
• Up to $40,000 can be contributed, and then be withdrawn to purchase a first home, without tax consequences.
Details are sure to be released soon as the FHSA plan is expected to launch in 2023.
As a thought – Wouldn't it be wonderful if the FHSA and RRSP Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) could be combined into a super-sized down payment for a First Time Home Buyer purchase? But it's likely not possible. So, it seems to be a future choice of the HBP or the FHSA. Advantage going to the FHSA, because repayment is not required, as would otherwise be if using the HBP.
2. Doubling of the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. This income tax credit applies to a qualifying “first home” purchased during the tax year. The updated credit increases from $5,000 to $10,000, which will put $1,500 back into a Buyer’s pocket. This increase is set to be available for the 2022 tax year.
3. Doubling the Home Accessibility Tax Credit. Individuals can receive 15% in tax relief on up to $20,000 in eligible renovations (up from $10,000) for a tax deduction of up to $3,000. Generally, eligible expenses are for updates that assist seniors, or those entitled to the Disability Tax Credit, to make their homes more accessible.
4. Introduction of a Multi-generational Home Renovation Tax Credit to help families create a multi-generational home. Starting in 2023, this refundable credit would allow families to claim 15% of up to $50,000, to a maximum of $7,500 for eligible renovation and construction costs incurred to construct a secondary suite.
5. Extension of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which allows eligible first-time home buyers to lower their borrowing costs by sharing the cost of buying a home with the government. This Plan has been extended to March 31, 2025.
6. Support of Rent-to-Own Projects to help make it easier for renters to get on the path of home ownership while renting.
7. Modification of the Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) – New tax rules for “property flipping” aimed at individuals who sell their principal residence within 12 months of purchase. According to the budget, the measure would apply to residential properties sold on or after January 1, 2023.
Two things that were surprisingly left out of this budget were the rumoured reintroduction of 30-year amortization for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)-insured mortgages for first-time home buyers. And the reduction of the mortgage insurance fees charged by CMHC. However, if home prices and/or interest rates continue on the upward trajectory, these programs could easily be re-visited.
Questions? Want to know more about market activity in your neighbourhood? I always invite your calls.
*Federal Budget information as above outlined is pending parliamentary approval. Details gathered at the time of release are presented for information only and may be altered or adjusted by the time the Budget is approved & then implemented.