Get answers to key questions to help you understand and apply for the BC HOME Partnership program.
The program assists residents of British Columbia who are eligible first-time home buyers by providing repayable down payment assistance loans up to a maximum of five per cent of the purchase price.
The loan is for a 25-year term, interest and payment free for the first five years, and will be registered on title to the property as a second mortgage on the closing date of the purchase of the home.
The BC HOME Partnership will provide financial support to help first-time homebuyers enter the housing market. As the first five years are no-interest and no-payment, the program improves affordability.
The programs starts on January 16, 2017, for purchases of homes that close on or after February 15, 2017.
The BC HOME Partnership is a three-year program with loans advanced between January 16, 2017, and March 31, 2020.
The home must:
- be a legal, self-contained residence,
- be able to be mortgaged and eligible for default mortgage insurance
- be located in British Columbia
- not exceed the maximum purchase price of $750,000
The home must be your principal residence; rental properties and seasonal or recreation properties are not eligible.
Examples of eligible homes include, but are not limited to:
- Detached/semi-detached homes
- Row homes
- Condominium units
You must take possession of the home within 30 days of closing and move in within six months. The home must be maintained as your principal residence for the first five years (or less if the loan is repaid in full). You must be the registered owner of the home and cannot hold title to the home in trust for anyone else.
Note: Below-market homes created through an affordable homeownership program or other BC Housing initiative are not eligible.
Principal residence is defined as the home that is designated (and is eligible to be designated) as the owner’s principal residence for tax purposes, and where all persons registered on title live permanently (for at least six months per year) in a self-contained unit with access to all living facilities at all times to conduct their daily activities (such as cooking, sleeping and receiving mail) and is the residential address used by the persons registered on title on documentation including but not limited to identification, vehicle registration and income tax returns.
Prospective homebuyers need to approach their financial institution or lender first before applying for the BC HOME Partnership loan.
Applicants must obtain a letter from a National Housing Act approved lender confirming they are pre-approved for an insured residential mortgage (insured by CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty) before submitting their application.
Applications will be accepted online via our website starting on January 16, 2017. We will review completed eligible applications in the order we receive them.
After homebuyers have applied online and have been approved by BC Housing, we will provide a homebuyer‘s package containing:
- Pre-approval letter
- Detailed program information and buyer’s checklist
- Information to provide to their lender, real estate licensee and lawyer or notary
The applicant must advise their primary lender that they have received conditional approval for a BC HOME Partnership Loan to ensure that the lender will agree to the secondary financing.
Once the applicant has an accepted offer on a home, they must provide BC Housing with the details. They will then receive a conditional loan commitment letter with the amount of the BC HOME Partnership loan. The applicant can take this to their primary lender to finalize financing.
The BC HOME Partnership loan approval is a conditional approval only until the final first mortgage insurance underwriting review is conducted and approved.
While the first five years is interest and payment free, the homeowner may make additional payments or repay the loan in full at any time with no penalty.
At the beginning of the sixth year, interest will start accruing and the homeowner will begin making principal and interest payments, amortized over the remaining 20 years.
The BC HOME Partnership loan is due and payable in full upon any of the following:
- Default on the first mortgage or the BC HOME Partnership loan
- Transfer of the home or change of ownership
- The home is no longer the purchaser’s principal residence in the first five years
The BC HOME Partnership loan is due and payable in full.
Upon sale, the loan must be repaid.