fact sheet: buying a home

all about down payments


A down payment on a home is a payment made by a buyer towards the purchase price of a property. Typically, when purchasing a home, the down payment is a percentage of the total cost of the home that is paid upfront by the buyer. The remaining balance of the purchase price is typically financed through a mortgage loan.

The size of the down payment required can vary depending on factors such as the type of loan and the lender's requirements. However, a typical down payment for a home is around 5 to 20% of the purchase price. For example, if a home costs $500,000, a 20% down payment would be $100,000, with the remaining $400,000 being financed through a mortgage loan.

Having a larger down payment can offer several benefits, such as a lower monthly mortgage payment, a lower interest rate, lower interest costs and potentially avoiding the need for mortgage insurance. However, it's important to note that saving for a large down payment can take time.



The terms "down payment" and "deposit" are sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different things.

A down payment is a payment made by the buyer towards the purchase price of a property. It's typically a percentage of the total cost of the property, paid upfront by the buyer at the time of purchase. The remaining balance of the purchase price is usually financed through a mortgage loan.

On the other hand, a deposit is a sum of money paid by the buyer as a sign of good faith and commitment to the purchase of the property. It's typically a smaller amount than the down payment, and it's often paid when the buyer makes an offer on the property. The deposit is held in trust by the seller's real estate brokerage until the sale is completed, at which point it is credited towards the purchase price.

In some cases, the deposit may be applied towards the down payment, but they are still two separate payments. It's important to understand the difference between these two terms when buying a home, as they both play a role in the home-buying process.



In Canada, the down payment requirements for a home depend on the purchase price of the property and the type of mortgage loan being used. Here are the general guidelines:

For properties with a purchase price of less than $500,000:

A minimum down payment of 5% is required for a purchase price of up to $500,000.

For purchase prices between $500,000 and $999,999, the minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000 plus 10% of the remaining balance.

For properties with a purchase price of $1 million or more:

A minimum down payment of 20% is required for the portion of the purchase price above $1 million.

It's important to note that the minimum down payment requirement may be higher for certain types of mortgage loans, such as those with a variable interest rate or longer amortization period.

Additionally, if the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price, the borrower is required to obtain mortgage default insurance, which protects the lender in the event of default. The cost of this insurance is based on the size of the down payment and the purchase price of the property.

It's also worth mentioning that down payment requirements and other mortgage regulations are subject to change, so it's always a good idea to consult with a mortgage professional or lender for the latest information.



Saving up for a down payment on a home can be a significant financial undertaking, but there are several strategies that can help you achieve this goal:

  • Set a savings goal: Determine how much you need to save for your down payment and create a plan for reaching that goal. Consider factors such as your income, expenses, and timeline for purchasing a home.
  • Create a budget: Review your current expenses and identify areas where you can cut back to save more money. Consider creating a monthly budget to help you stay on track.
  • Open a separate savings account: Consider opening a separate savings account specifically for your down payment. This can help you stay organized and motivated to save.
  • Automate your savings: Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account to make regular contributions to your down payment fund.
  • Consider other sources of income: If you have additional income, such as a bonus or tax refund, consider putting some or all of it towards your down payment.
  • Explore down payment assistance options: Do you have parents or family members that might be willing to gift or loan you some funds towards the purchase of a home?

Be patient and stay committed: Saving for a down payment can take time, but staying committed to your savings plan can help you achieve your goal of homeownership.

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