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The First-Time Home Buyer Incentives in Alberta

Written by Jessica Steer
Reviewed by Victor Ko
As a first-time home buyer in Canada, you could take advantage of quite a few different incentives. That said, there are different incentives based on which province you’re living in and purchasingyour first home. One of these provinces that offers some great incentives is Alberta. 
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    If you live in Alberta, though, and are considering purchasing your first home, it’s important to consider where you want to purchase. Many of the Alberta only incentives programs that offer financial assistance in the home buying process are provided by municipalities and are based on where you make your purchase as well as what type of property you’re purchasing. 

    Down Payments for First-Time Home Buyers

    As a first-time home buyer in Canada, you’re able to purchase your first home with a lower down payment amount. Plus, you’re able to access a tax-free  from your RRSP to make your purchase. That said, there are certain regulations that you need to meet in order to qualify for these programs and you have to submit the correct documentation that financial institutions require. 

    RRSP Home Buyers Plan

    In Canada, you’re able to take amounts out of your RRSP ( Registered Retirement Savings Plan) without paying any withholding taxes in order to purchase your first home. With the HBP, you’re able to withdraw up to $35,000 in order to purchase or build your first home or for a specific disabled person. 

    In order to use your RRSP funds under the HBP, you need to be considered a first-time home buyer, have a contract for a purchase or a new build and be a resident of Canada. Once you have taken out the funds, you don’t have to start paying them back until 2 years after the year you purchase. You have 15 years to pay back the funds in full. 

    CMHC Insurance and Down Payments

    When you purchase a home in Canada, the standard down payment amount is 20%. That said, there are some circumstances where reduce your financial burden and you can purchase your first home for a down payment as low as 5%. However, in order to do so, you must meet the conditions of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Insurance, also known as mortgage insurance.

    In order to purchase a home with a down payment of less than 20%, you need to qualify for a CMHC-insured loan. In order to do so, the purchase price of the property must be below $1,000,000. For a home with a purchase price of $500,000 or less, you can have a minimum down payment of 5%. For all other purchases up to $1,000,000, you can pay 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remaining amount. All purchase over $1,000,000 require the larger down payment of 20%. 

    When you’re making your purchase of your first home, it’s important to remember that there are more costs associated with purchasing a home than just the down payment. You also need to be prepared to pay any fees, goods and services tax, harmonized sales tax,  land transfer taxes, legal fees and other closing costs associated with the purchase. While this amount varies for everyone, it’s recommended that you have a few thousand dollars ready to cover these costs in your home buying journey. 

    Rules for First-Time Home Buyers in Alberta

    When it comes to purchasing your first home in Alberta, the rules are the same as those in the rest of Canada. You can purchase for as low as 5% down and use funds in your RRSP to do so. However, in order to purchase the funds for the down payment, don’t have to be your own. You can receive the funds from a friend or family, but because the funds won’t be sitting in your account for a minimum of 3 months, you will have to provide a gift letter. 

    When purchasing your first home, though, it’s important to not just consider how much that mortgage down payment is, but home it affects you. A large down payment can reduce your monthly mortgage payments and your total mortgage amount. The mortgage rates will affect this as well. 

    First-time Home Buyers Grant

    In Alberta, you can get a grant of up to 5% of the purchase price of your home if you qualify for the PEAK program. The Peak program, also known as the Public Essential and Key Program, is a down payment assistance program that offers this grant to eligible home buyers in order to help cover the cost of the down payment as well as closing costs. 

    While this lump sum is referred to as a grant, it’s essentially a repayable loan that is interest-free for 5 years. Once the 5 years are up, then the loan is to be paid back over the term that’s remaining on your mortgage. In order to qualify for this program, though, you have to meet the requirements. These include:

    • Being a first-time home buyer
    • Having at least $1,000 of your own money for a down payment
    • Having a household income under $90,000 if you have dependent children living with you and under $80,000 if you don’t
    • Meeting the requirements for a mortgage pre-approval

    First Time Home Buyer Incentives in Edmonton

    For those who live in Edmonton, the Edmonton First Place Program helps those who are eligible to purchase their first home. With this program, those who qualify are provided a 5-year deferral on the land costs for townhomes that are developed on vacant school sites. That said, after the 5 years, though, the costs do have to be paid back. 

    Just like with other first-time home buyer programs in Alberta, you need to meet the eligibility criteria in order to qualify. This criteria includes:

    • Being pre-approved for a mortgage
    • Have a minimum down payment of 5%
    • Being a first-time home buyer
    • Being a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status
    • Using the property as your primary residence for the first 5 years
    • Having a combined household income under $117,000

    Edmonton isn’t the only city in Alberta that has incentives for first-time buyers, though. Calgary also has some options. 

    First Time Home Buyer Incentives in Calgary

    If you live in Calgary and are looking to enter home ownership, the Attainable Homes Calgary program may be a good place to start. This program was formed from a partnership between the City of Calgary and The Calgary Foundation. It provides a grant to those who only have $2,000, and it’s interest-free. That said, though, if you are the primary resident, you don’t need to pay the grant back. 

    However, there is a catch when it comes to this program. In the first year, the AHC program will take 100% of your home’s appreciation, but after 5 years, it’s only 25%. That said, you are able to sell your home at any time. You will need to pay the down payment loan back, though, as well as the home appraisal to find your home value (market value) and whatever portion of the home appraisal still belongs to the AHC. 

    In order to be approved for this program, you must;

    • Have a down payment of $2,000
    • Have assets of $50,000 or less
    • Have completed the program’s home education session
    • Have a household income of $83,00 for individuals, $93,000 for couples and $103,000 for families


    The FHSA, also known as the First Home Savings Account, is another tool that you can use in Canada to purchase your first home. While this account is relatively new since it was only created in 2022 by the federal government, it’s a great way to save your money tax-free in order to purchase your first home. Essentially, this account is a combination of a tax free savings account and the home buyers program from your RRSP. 

    The requirements to open an FHSA are pretty minimal. You only need to be 18 years old, a Canadian resident and a first-time home buyer. With this account, you can contribute up to $8,000 annuallyin tax deductible contributions,  and a lifetime maximum of $40,000. This account can stay open up to 15 years or until the end of the year you turn 71, whichever comes first. 

    First Time Home Buyers and No Down Payment

    While you can purchase a home in Alberta without a down payment, the only way to do so is with a loan or by using an incentive program to cover the down payment. While the down payment doesn’t have to be made with cash from you, usually, some form of a down payment is required for a home purchase. 

    Government of Canada First Time Home Buyers Incentive

    Up until March 21, 2024, there was also the First Time Buyers Incentive from the federal government. This was a shared equity program that helped first-time home buyers reduce their monthly mortgage payments. 

    This program's goal was to help reduce first-time buyers' monthly payments by providing 5% or 10% of their home price. Like many of the other several incentive programs, it was an interest-free loan that was to go towards the purchase of your home. However, before you could receive this incentive, you had to meet the qualifications, including having an annual income of less than $120,000, and the home’s purchase price had to be less than $500,000. Those who entered intos this progam are considered to have a shared equity mortgage. 

    First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

    The first-time home buyers tax credit is a credit you can claim for the tax year that you purchased your home. It’s a non-refundable tax credit that can give you a tax rebate of up to $1,500. 

    The main qualification to be considered for this tax credit is to be a first-time home buyer. This means that if you, you’re spouse or common-law partner owned a home in the year of the purchase or the 4 years before, you won’t qualify. That said, if you have a disability and qualify for the disability tax credit, you can qualify even if you’ve owned a home before. 

    In order to qualify for this credit with a disability, you must live in the home within one year of purchasing it. The home must also be tailored to your needs and the disability amount must be claimed for the year you purchase the home. 

    The types of home purchases that qualify under the first time home buyers tax credit are:

    • Townhomes
    • Mobile homes
    • Condos
    • Apartments
    • Shares in housing cooperatives
    • Single family homes
    • Semi detached houses


    When it comes to purchasing your first home in Alberta, there are plenty of incentives available in Alberta as well as throughout Canada. These incentives can help you cover the costs of a down payment. They can also give you the ability to be a first-time home buyer. Before you start the process of purchasing your first home in Alberta, it’s important to be aware of the incentives that you qualify for. 

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