Here are some other important facts to know about the program:
- There’s a limit on qualifying income. If you are buying on your own (no dependents), your annual income must be less than $84,000. If you are buying as a couple (no dependents), your combined annual income must be less than $94,000. And if you are buying on your own or as a couple with dependents, you must make less than a combined $104,000, annually.
- It’s similar to the First-Time Homebuyer Incentive offered by the federal government in that AHC remains on title as a co-owner and shares in the appreciation of the property, until you sell or repay the money borrowed. AHC’s share in the appreciation of the property diminishes the longer you are in the home, to a minimum of 25% of its value.
- You still need to qualify for a mortgage, and you can do so with a co-signer.
The First Place Program in Edmonton
Since 2016, Edmonton’s First Place Program has worked with banks and builders to transform some of the city’s surplus school building sites into townhomes.
On top of constructing the home itself, the cost of acquiring land can be expensive for many first-time buyers. The First Place Program helps home buyers defer the land portion of their mortgage for up to five years. Buyers must still pay for the townhome itself, as well maintenance fees, taxes and utilities.
To be eligible for this program, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a first-time home buyer in Alberta
- Have a down payment of at least 5%
- Have a personal net worth of $25,000 or less (excluding a primary vehicle, RRSPs and mortgage down payment)
- Have a household income of less than $117,000
- Be pre-approved for a mortgage
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Live in the unit full-time for the first five years
Is now a good time to buy real estate in Alberta?
After learning about Alberta mortgage rules, rates and home buying programs, you may be wondering, is now even a good time to buy a home in the sunshine province? Rising interest rates are having a real impact on the Canadian real estate market this year, and Alberta is no exception.
In February 2022, Alberta real estate markets were breaking records. For example, in Edmonton, the price of a single-family home approached $500,000, up from $428,000 the year before. The number of real estate sales jumped almost 42% over the same timeframe. Similarly, the real estate market was very hot in Calgary, with the benchmark home price reaching $484,000 in February 2022.
In the province’s two largest cities, homes remain very affordable compared to the national average, making them a good fit for many first-time home buyers. The pace of recent price gains may have made it harder for many first-time buyers to get into the market, but that trend is starting to reverse itself. As of August 2022, rising interest rates have slowed the pace of sales and price growth in cities like Edmonton and Calgary.
First-time home buyers will still have to contend with higher interest rates and what those mean for their mortgages. Affording your first home means being able to cover the monthly costs of your mortgage, in addition to saving a substantial down payment.