New to Canada Mortgage

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Many of the products/services listed on this page are from our affiliate partners. We receive commissions if you purchase any of those items, but it does not influence how we review them or what ratings starS (or lack thereof) appear next to each product category in reviews like these ones! Learn more by reading Advertiser Disclosure prior to making your decision.

Conditions for Getting a Mortgage in Canada if you are an Immigrant

There are various conditions that must be met in order to be eligible for a mortgage. Here are some of them:

Property Value and Down Payment

  • The minimum down payment of 5% is only applicable on first mortgages.
  • The property you buy must be worth below $1,000,000.
  • The amortization period should be 25 years.
  • You can get a loan-to-value limit of 95% of your purchase transactions.
  • In case the property is worth less than $500,000, you’ll pay a down payment of 5%.
  • In case the property is worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000, you’ll pay 5% down payment on the first section of the loan up to $500,000. As for the balance amount above $5,00,000, you’ll pay a down payment of 10%. So be ready for higher mortgage payments if the house is worth more.
  • To make the down payment of 5% for the mortgage, you must use your own personal sources like your savings or the funds you raise from the sale of any personal property.
  • If you’re making payments of more than 5% towards the mortgage, you can pay the balance by taking non-repayable gifts from immediate family members.

Learn more about the mortgage approval process.

Immigrant Status in Canada

  • You should have officially migrated or moved to the country in the last 5 years.
  • You cannot have guarantors backing you.
  • You should not be a member of a foreign diplomatic team in the country. If you don’t pay taxes, you cannot qualify for the program.
  • You must possess a valid work permit or status of a landed immigrant.
  • If you owe any debts outside of Canada, they’ll be calculated in the total debt servicing ratio.
  • If you earn rental income outside the country, it is not included in the 39% GDS or 44% TDS calculation.

Not All Properties Qualify for the New To Canada Program

Not all properties qualify for Genworth’s New to Canada program. Here are the criteria:

  • The property must have a maximum of 2 units of which one should be occupied by the owner.
  • The property should be an existing resale house.
  • The property should be located in a residential area with a re-sale high demand so that it can be easily sold.
  • The property should be a new construction secured by a New Home Warranty Program approved by the lender.
  • According to property appraisal experts, it should have a projected economic life of at least 25 years.

Terms and Interest Rates on the New To Canada Mortgage

  • You can choose from different kinds of mortgages like fixed rate, capped variable rate, standard variable rate, and adjustable mortgage rates.
  • The interest rates can have a term of 25 years at most.
  • The interest rate is chosen from the contract rate or 5-year benchmark rate, whichever is higher.

Calculating Premium Rates

You’ll pay the insurance premium at the time of closing and it can be added to the mortgage. This amount is non-refundable and as you can see from the table below, rates are calculated on the top-up section on the additional loan amount or the total new loan amount, whichever is lower.

LTV Ratio Premium Rate Top-Up Premium
Up to 65% 0.60% 0.60%
65.01% – 75% 1.70% 5.90%
75.01% – 80% 2.40% 6.05%
80.01% – 85% 2.80% 6.20%
85.01% – 90% 3.10% 6.25%
90.01% – 95% 4.00% 6.30%


Qualifying for the New To Canada Mortgage:

To qualify for the mortgage, here are the criteria you must meet:

  • Unless you’re moving to Canada under a corporate relocation program, you must prove that you have been employed in the country full-time for at least 3 months.
  • You must submit the standard proofs of income and employment to apply.
  • Genworth Canada needs lenders to submit a copy of the documents on a case-by-case basis in place of providing the documents upfront with every file.
  • The landlord must provide a proof of rent receipt that includes the name of the lessee, rent amount, payment history, and time for which the property was rented. You must also submit bank statements that prove that the rent payments were made on time along with the amount of rent.

Submitting Documents and Other Information

Loan to Value in % age Documents Needed
Any Loan to Value
  • Verified landed immigrant status or valid work permit
  • Confirmation of down payment
  • Confirmation of income
  • Purchase and sale agreement
Loan Value of 0% to 90% Primary bank account statements dating back 6 months/ Reference letter from a recognized bank or financial organization
Loan Value of 90.01% to 95%


  • International Credit Report showing a robust credit profile/ Any 2 documents showing that you have been making regular payments towards your dues without delays in the last 12 months. You can submit any 2 of these documents provided by a Canadian source:
  • Proof of rent payment such as bank statement or letter from the landlord
  • Proof of bill payments over 12 months for cell phones, cable TV, hydro/utilities, or auto insurance

Other Information:

  • As a home buyer, you can avail of the positives of a lender’s portability. That’s because of the portable status of the mortgage default insurance. You can get further information at the Portability Feature Product Overview.
  • If you meet the lender guidelines, mortgage is assumable.

Products that Qualify Under the New to Canada Program

  • Homebuyer 95 Program
  • Purchase Plus Improvements Program
  • Progress Advance Program

Products that Don’t Qualify Under the Program

  • Borrowed Down Payment Program
  • Vacation/Secondary Homes Program
  • Second Mortgage Program
  • Family Plan Program
  • Investment Property Program
  • Business For Self (Alt-A) Program

If you want to own your dream home, you probably need a mortgage to finance your first home purchase. Getting a mortgage like any other financial decision requires some careful thinking. There are several steps that you must take along with support documentation to get approved for a mortgage.

Remember that you are only eligible for a mortgage if you are a permanent resident in Canada and have a good credit rating. Furthermore, the type of mortgage you choose also depends on how much you have saved for a down payment.

New To Canada Mortgage Plans

The top three mortgage providers in Canada have their own ‘New to Canada mortgage programs’ to help people who are new to the region. These programs help newcomers get approved for a mortgage so that they can purchase their own home.

Your Credit History

The first step to getting approved for a mortgage is to build a strong credit rating. Remember that having a strong credit rating not only increases your chances of getting approved but you can also get the best interest rates which can save you almost thousands of dollars over the entire mortgage period.

How you can build a strong credit history:

The easiest way to build a strong credit rating is to use a credit card responsibly and make your payments in full every month.

Financial experts also recommend that you make your bill payments on time and this includes your rent, phone bills, as well as utilities. You can also apply for small loans from your bank and make your payments on time to show that you are a credit worthy person.

Last, you need to prove that you have a consistent source of income. It is recommended that you stay with the same employer for an extended period of time to build a strong source of income.

The good news is that if you don’t have a strong Canadian rating, you can use your credit rating from the UK, Australia or the United States to establish your credit history.

Get Supporting Documentation

If you have just arrived in Canada and still don’t have a strong credit history, you will be required to provide support documentation. Some of the documents that you need to show up include:

  1. Landed immigrant status
  2. A valid legal work permit
  3. Proof of income – you can submit your employment contract or your pay slips
  4. Proof of your rental payments
  5. A confirmation letter from your landlord
  6. Proof of your bill payments
  7. Your bank statement
  8. Records of personal savings
  9. An international credit report
  10. Reference letter from any reputable financial institution

Did you know that for newcomers to Canada, you do not need the highest credit rating to qualify for mortgage? Did you also know that small debts here and there could affect your rating immensely? These dynamics make looking for a house in Canada an exciting journey, but only if you have the right ammunition. First, don’t panic –  you are not alone in this.  According to the Canadian Magazine of Immigration, one out of five Canadians is an immigrant, as of 2011. Canada’s population is at 35,749,600 according to 2015 estimates.  Now you can do your estimation to see how just how many are looking for a home.

The Major Issues To Handle

I will tell you the reality of the housing market in the country. Newcomers to Canada are full of hope that within a few months they will get a home. However, the unfamiliarity of the market and other challenges leave many disappointed. Once the reality has set in, a majority of newcomers to Canada worry about issues such as:

  • Getting mortgage approval
  • Rising cost of housing
  • Increasing mortgage rates
  • Monthly mortgage payments

Good News! You Have Options

Lenders are ever relaxing their conditions and offering home loans designed for new immigrants. Here is how you can please your lender to get closer to fulfilling your dream of owning a home. Get A Job Soon As a new immigrant, you may want to get employment for at least three months before approaching a mortgage lender. This is one of the most common requirements from lenders. Of course, others may only require you to prove your creditworthiness. This includes references from previous employers, work permits and such documents. Learn About The Market All mortgage markets have their unique characteristics, so take your time to understand how the Canadian market operates. For example, if you are planning to buy a condominium, you need to know the requirements for buying a stratified property. Is your overseas credit history impressive? One thing you will realize is that you can use this history to get a mortgage. In my research, I found at least two institutions that use this method – TD Canada Trust and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Request for Pre-Approval If you are a new immigrant looking to secure a mortgage, you should give priority to pre-approval and this is why:

  • You spend significantly less time when applying for a mortgage
  • Chances of your offer going through are manifold
  • No time is wasted looking for irrelevant products

Prepare The Following Materials As you may have already discovered, a lot of stress may be involved in the process of getting a newcomer mortgage. Therefore, it is important to have the paperwork ready to make the process as smooth as possible. Below are some of the documentation that the lender may need.

  • Bank statements
  • Employment letter
  • Social insurance number
  • Canadian passport or work permit

Finding The Best Mortgage Rates

It is true that homeownership can be one hectic process for newcomers to Canada. However, knowing what to expect and preparing in advance can quicken everything and possibly reduce cost. The good news is that lending agents can help in different ways, including advising on the best options and best mortgage rates available, whether in Ontario, Quebec, BC, Alberta, among others.


How Much Do I Need to Save for a Down Payment?

While you are building your credit history, you can also start saving money to make a down payment. If you are new to Canada and have permanent resident status, you are required to put a downpayment of at least 5% of the purchase value of your home. All non-permanent Canadian residents are required to put down at least 10% of the purchase price.

For example, if the purchase price of your home is $500,000, you have to pay at least 5% of the value as down payment. On the other hand, you have to pay at least 10% of the total value if your house is priced more than $500,000. This rule applies to all home purchases in Canada regardless of your residency status.

Choosing the Right Mortgage Provider

You can get approved for a mortgage either through a lender or a bank or a credit union. You can also decide to work with a mortgage broker to shop around for the best mortgage interest rates and find the deal that best suits your needs. Remember that mortgage brokers don’t issue mortgages but they will negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best rates and products.

Choosing the Type of Mortgage

You will have to decide whether you want a fixed rate mortgage or a variable rate mortgage. A fixed mortgage rate means your interest payments and mortgage rate will remain the same throughout your mortgage term. A variable mortgage plan means your interest rate might fluctuate throughout the term depending on the changes in the Prime rate.

Basically, the decision to go for a fixed mortgage rate or a variable mortgage rate depends on your unique risk tolerance and whether mortgage interest rates are expected to go up or down in the near future.

Choosing Your Amortization Period

The amortization period basically is the amount of time it takes to pay off your entire mortgage. The minimum amortization period for all mortgages approved after July 09, 2012 is 25 years. If you are willing to put down more than 20% of the purchase value of your home, you might be able to get a mortgage for a long period i.e. up to 30 years from most lenders.

Remember that having a longer amortization period is beneficial for the fact that your mortgage payments will be lower and spread out over a longer time frame. The only downside of having a longer amortization period is that you will be required to pay more interest over the entire duration of the mortgage.

How Do I Select my Mortgage Term?

The mortgage term is the period of time you will be committed to a certain set of conditions and a particular mortgage rate. Generally, mortgage terms range from 6 months for up to ten years and mortgage term for 5 years is the most common. Once your mortgage term is up, you can negotiate with your lender and come up with new mortgage rates and a new set of conditions for the remaining principal.

While you are likely to have several mortgage terms over your entire amortization period and like any other financial decision, you have to choose the term very carefully. Remember, breaking your mortgage term early can result in hefty penalties.

Welcome to Canada! Owning a home in Canada is a dream for many new immigrants and newcomers.  Immigrants or newcomers to Canada with a work permit can qualify for mortgage financing if they meet the insurer’s and the lender’s guidelines.

The general criteria for New to Canada Mortgages to qualify for a mortgage are as follows:

  • Immigrated/relocated to Canada within the last 60 months.
  • 3 months minimum full-time employment in Canada (borrowers being transferred under a corporate relocation program are exempt).  Standard income and employment verification requirements apply.
    • Note:  If you have a substantial down payment (25% or more), and aren’t able to provide the usual confirmation of employment/income to prove you can service a mortgage, you still may be able to get a mortgage.

 Lenders want to see a history of credit repayment, so if you can provide an International credit report demonstrating a strong credit profile or 2 alternative sources of credit demonstrating timely payments (no arrears) for the past 12 months, you will strengthen your mortgage application.

  • Debts incurred outside of Canada must be included in the total debt servicing ratio
  • For a down payment, qualified home buyers may use traditional down payment sources including personal savings, a non-repayable gift from an immediate family member(s), proceeds from the sale of a property.
  • Guarantors are not permitted

This list is just a general guideline, we encourage you to contact one of our qualified mortgage brokers to find you a mortgage solution that fits you and your situation.


Vik Palan

Vik Palan

Chief Editor -

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