Mortgages for New Immigrants to Canada

Greetings from, your definitive guide to the Canadian mortgage landscape. Canada, known for its diversity and welcoming nature, has become a dream destination for many immigrants. As a newcomer, understanding the intricacies of the Canadian mortgage market can be daunting. Let’s demystify this process for you.


Every year, Canada welcomes thousands of immigrants, each hoping to build a new life in this vast and varied land. One of the primary concerns for many is securing a home. While some might choose to rent initially, others look to dive into homeownership. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help newcomers navigate the world of Canadian mortgages.

1. New to Canada Programs

Several Canadian banks and financial institutions offer mortgage programs tailored for newcomers. These programs often require a smaller down payment and may have other perks, such as reduced interest rates for a limited time.

  • Tip: Before deciding, shop around, compare offers, and pick a program that aligns with your financial capacity and long-term plans.

2. Understanding the Down Payment

The down payment is a percentage of the home’s purchase price that you must pay upfront. While Canadian citizens typically need a down payment of at least 5%, newcomers might face different requirements based on their visa status and credit history.

  • Permanent Residents: Typically, a minimum of 5% down payment is required, similar to Canadian citizens.
  • Non-Permanent Residents: Often required to put down at least 10%.

3. Building Credit in Canada

For many immigrants, a significant challenge is the absence of a Canadian credit history. Banks rely on credit scores to gauge the risk of lending. Without this, securing a mortgage can be tricky.

  • Tip: Consider getting a secured credit card, paying bills on time, and regularly checking your credit report to build a positive credit history.

4. Importance of Employment History

Stable employment is a critical factor for lenders. If you’re new to Canada and already have a job, it’s a significant advantage. Some lenders might want proof of employment for a specified duration, ensuring you have a steady income.

  • Note: If you’re self-employed, additional documentation about your business and income might be necessary.

5. The Role of a Mortgage Broker

Engaging a mortgage broker can be immensely beneficial. They can provide insights into various lenders, help you understand mortgage rates, and even assist in securing a mortgage with non-traditional lenders if mainstream banks don’t approve your application.

  • Tip: Look for brokers with experience assisting newcomers. Their expertise in this niche can streamline the process.

6. Understanding Mortgage Rates

Canada offers two primary types of mortgage rates:

  • Fixed Rate: The interest rate remains constant throughout the term.
  • Variable Rate: The interest rate can fluctuate based on market conditions.

For newcomers, a fixed rate might be more comforting as it provides stability in monthly payments. However, depending on market trends, variable rates can sometimes offer cost-saving benefits.

7. Pre-Approval: Why It’s Beneficial

Before house hunting, consider getting a mortgage pre-approval. It’s a statement from a lender indicating their willingness to lend a specified amount. This not only gives you clarity on your budget but also strengthens your position when negotiating with sellers.

8. Non-Traditional Lending Options

If, for some reason, you don’t qualify for a mortgage with mainstream banks, all is not lost. Canada has a robust system of alternative lenders, including credit unions and private lenders. While interest rates might be slightly higher, they offer a pathway to homeownership.

  • Caution: Always read the fine print and ensure you understand the terms when engaging with non-traditional lenders.

9. Understanding the Mortgage Stress Test

Introduced to ensure that borrowers could still afford their mortgage if interest rates rose, the mortgage stress test requires borrowers to qualify at a rate higher than their contracted mortgage rate. As a newcomer, it’s crucial to be aware of this, as it can impact the mortgage amount you qualify for.

10. Closing Costs: The Additional Expense

Apart from the down payment, be prepared for closing costs, which can range from 1.5% to 4% of the property’s purchase price. These can include legal fees, property transfer tax, and home inspection charges.

  • Tip: Always set aside additional funds for these expenses to avoid last-minute financial strain.


While the journey to homeownership in a new country can seem overwhelming, armed with the right information, it becomes manageable. Canada, with its inclusive approach, has multiple avenues to help newcomers achieve their homeownership dreams.

For more detailed insights, personalized advice, or any mortgage-related queries, is here for you. Together, let’s make your Canadian dream home a reality!

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