A New First Home Plan

The provincial election just passed and the Sask Party holds the majority. The Saskatchewan Party has promised to support changes for the housing market in Saskatoon. Specifically, their goal is to help first-time buyers save for a down payment for their home. 

First and foremost we (all of us at The Meadows and Arbutus) want to be clear that we are neutral when it comes to political parties but we are writing a blog on the Saskatchewan Party initiative because they have introduced a new First Home Plan.

Obviously, we are in the home building profession and if more people can make home ownership a dream come true we want to talk about that issue and bring the initiative to the attention of Saskatoon residents who may be trying to save money to be able to afford their first home.

Most of the time, we find that younger people want to buy a home, but many people find it hard to save for a down payment.

The First Home Plan will begin on May 1st, 2016. It will be tied to the Graduate Retention Program (GRP) and recipients will be able to use up to $10,000.00 of their unused GRP benefits toward the down payment on the purchase of their first home.  

Here’s How it Works:

Recipients are required to apply to the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) to access up to $10,000 in unused GRP tax credits. A first-time home buyer is someone who has not owned a home in the current year or in any of the previous four years. 

Once eligibility has been verified, SHC will advance up to $10,000 per applicant in the form of an interest-free loan, which will be forgiven, provided the applicant continues to own the home for a period of time.

Couples purchasing their first home together can pool their credits toward a down payment to a maximum of $10,000 per person. The property can be a single family home, a semi-detached house, a townhouse, mobile home, condominium or an apartment. 

The term of the loan will be four years or the remaining period of GRP eligibility, whichever is less. If the graduate maintains ownership of the home for the entire loan period, the loan will not have to be repaid. 

What if you move:

First Home Plan recipients who sell their home but remain in Saskatchewan and buy another home, will be able to transfer the First Home Plan down payment to their new home. 

GRP fist home plan

We like the idea of helping community members, who have decided to stay in Saskatchewan, afford their first home and we are excited that Saskatoon will continue to grow as a community. 

The First Home Plan initiative appears to be a great step towards keeping our graduates in Saskatoon (and in Saskatchewan) and to allow them to embark on their next journey of life a little faster (the journey of home ownership).

“Our government introduced the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship to help students with the cost of their tuition.  We introduced the Graduate Retention Program, which is effectively a tax break for post-secondary grads who choose to stay and work in Saskatchewan.   And now, we will introduce this new option on the Graduate Retention Program to allow you to use your credits to buy your first home.”

This new program will cost $900,000.00 in the first year. During the second year, the cost for the GRP will be $1.8 million and then $2.7 million in year three, reaching the zenith of $3.6 million in the 4th year.

If you are looking for your first home or a new home, contact us! We can help!

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