Using Your RRSP for Home Purchase

Discover how to leverage your RRSP for home purchase with the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Learn eligibility criteria, benefits, and scenarios outlining its application. From down payments to meeting deadlines, grasp the strategic use of HBP to fulfill your homeownership aspirations while maximizing financial opportunities.
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Are you considering purchasing your first home? The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) offers you the opportunity to utilize your RRSP funds tax-free for this purpose. But how does this plan operate and what are the requirements? Let’s delve into the details below.

Using Your RRSP for Home Purchase: Understanding the Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

Key Qualifications for the HBP:

  • You must be a first-time home buyer, which means you haven’t owned a home or lived in a home owned by your current spouse or common-law partner in the four-year period prior to the home purchase.
  • Your RRSP contributions must remain in your account for at least 90 days before being withdrawn for the HBP to qualify for tax deduction.
  • You must have a purchase or construction agreement in place for your new home before October 1st of the year following the withdrawal.
  • You must intend to use the acquired home as your primary residence within one year of purchase or construction.
  • You must be a Canadian resident at the time of withdrawing funds from your RRSP(s) under the HBP, as well as up to the point of purchasing or building the qualifying home.

The four-year period refers to the time frame preceding the home purchase, starting from January 1 of the fourth year before RRSP fund withdrawal and ending 31 days before the withdrawal date.

Benefits of the HBP:

  • You can save for a home while contributing to your RRSP.
  • Maximum withdrawal is $35,000 per individual, or $70,000 for a married or common-law couple.
  • To avoid inclusion in taxable income, a minimum of 1/15 of the withdrawn amount must be repaid into the RRSP annually.

Scenario 1: Utilizing the HBP for Down Payment

Consider Alex and Emily, aiming to purchase a $450,000 condo in summer 2023:

  • They each possess $15,000 in their RRSPs.
  • Minimum down payment required is 5%, totaling $22,500.
  • They opt to use the HBP for the down payment, withdrawing $11,250 each from their RRSPs.
  • Closing deadline for the condo purchase is September 30, 2024.
  • Repayment obligation starts at $750 per person annually from 2025 onwards.
  • Note: Down payments below 20% necessitate CMHC loan insurance.

Scenario 2: Dealing with Unsuccessful Home Purchase

For instance, Rachel withdrew HBP funds in 2022 to buy a condo, but the deal fell through:

  • If Rachel does not pursue another home purchase before October 1, 2023, she can cancel her HBP participation without penalty.
  • Funds must be returned to the RRSP by December 31 of the year following the withdrawal, in this case, by December 31, 2023.

Scenario 3: Challenges in Meeting Home Purchase Deadline

Imagine Nathan, who withdrew HBP funds in 2022 but couldn’t buy or build a home by October 1, 2023:

  • Nathan can still meet the deadline if he either has a purchase agreement effective by October 1, 2023, for a home to be acquired by October 1, 2024, or has made payments for home construction materials equivalent to the total HBP withdrawals before October 1, 2023.

Scenario 4: Suitability of HBP for Home Purchase

Consider Lily and Max planning to buy a $500,000 home with $30,000 already saved for the down payment:

  • They hesitate to withdraw $35,000 each from their RRSPs to achieve a 20% down payment and avoid CMHC insurance.
  • Withdrawals could potentially reduce their RRSP income in the future, making the HBP less advantageous for them.

Like any financial tool, it’s essential to utilize the HBP to align with your financial objectives strategically.

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Vik Palan

Chief Editor - RoofUp

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