While it was designed to boost sales and help people find their perfect house, it seems Canada's first-time homebuyer incentive is not doing so well. New data shows that applications are scarce. It's especially bad in major cities.
According to a data analysis by Better Dwelling, out of all the major cities in Canada, Montreal received the most applications for the incentive, at 654. By comparison, the greater Toronto area only saw 148 total applications.
Even provincially, Quebec dominates in the number of people looking to get government assistance with buying a home. Overall, there were 1360 applicants in the province, with 1171 of those being approved between September 2 and December 9, 2019.
Comparatively, that number is more than the next two provinces put together: Alberta (809 applicants) and Ontario (436).
This could possibly due to a combination of the median house prices in each market coupled with the maximum amount that new homebuyers can actually get from the incentive.
According to Canadian Mortgage Trends, the Toronto Real Estate Board said the average price of a home in the six was $837,788 in December.
In Montreal, Royal LePage’s House Price Survey found the average price of a home only reached $433,993 by the end of 2019.
The first-time homebuyers incentive allows people to let the government buy part of their home by offering 5 to 10 percent of the sale price.
That's still lower than the average price of a Toronto home, but houses in Montreal, on average, would fall well below that limit.
Unfortunately, there is also speculation that the program could drive prices even higher.
Stephen Punwasi, founder of the Better Dwelling blog told Huffington Post, "For instance, an email from one report flat out said ‘With high participation, this could increase home sales & prices!"