Mortgage programs designed for new immigrants to Canada.

Arriving in a new country is exciting, but it can also come with challenges. If you’re new to Canada and interested in buying a home, you may find yourself struggling as you figure out how to secure a mortgage.

As a new Canadian immigrant, you may not have a proper credit history when you apply for their first mortgage, which can make the process more difficult. Luckily, various New to Canada mortgage programs exist to support you in achieving your home ownership goals.

At The Mortgage Centre KW, our team is here to help you secure a mortgage for your first home, when you’re a new arrival in Canada. There are many mortgage programs that exist to help new Canadians secure a mortgage. Our team understands the options available and we can help you find the right program for your specific situation.

New to Canada Mortgage Programs

If you are interested in a New To Canada mortgage, there are three different programs offered by Canada’s three default mortgage providers:


There are minor differences that may make one particular program more or less advantageous, depending on your specific circumstances. At The Mortgage Centre KW, our team of mortgage professionals will help you understand the different options and select the program that fits you best.

Applying to a New to Canada Mortgage Program

If you are applying to a mortgage program for new immigrants in Canada, commonly referred to as a ‘New to Canada mortgage’, then your ability to secure a mortgage will depend on three factors:

  • Your residency status
  • Your credit rating
  • Your down payment 


Each of these three variables will impact your ability to secure approval for a mortgage and increase your chances of getting better terms on your mortgage.

 

Your Residency Status in Canada

Residency status is very important to your mortgage application. Obtaining permanent residency is the first step towards becoming a full Canadian citizen, and permanent residency makes it possible for new Canadians to apply for standard mortgages. 

If you are not a permanent resident of Canada yet, but you hold a current work permit and have submitted an application for permanent residency, you can still apply for a standard mortgage.

If you are thinking of applying for permanent residency, bear in mind that you must have been physically present in Canada for at least 730 days in the past five-year period. This means that applicants must have lived in Canada for 2 years minimum — or longer if you frequently travel outside the country.

If you are not able to apply for residency in Canada yet, then you will need to secure a mortgage in a different way. To get a mortgage as a new immigrant, you will need to go through one of Canada’s default mortgage lenders: 

  • CMHC
  • Genworth Canada
  • Canada Guaranty


See above for additional details on their programs for new Canadians.

How To Build Your Credit Rating

As a new immigrant, you won’t have a credit rating in Canada when you arrive. 

If you are planning on buying a home, we recommend that you start building your credit score as soon as possible, in order to prove to lenders that you are a good candidate for a mortgage. Here are a few tips for getting started with building your credit:

  • Apply for credit cards and use them regularly. Credit cards are a great way to start building up your credit history. Just remember that missed or late payments will hurt your credit score, so you need to pay off your card promptly. Only apply for credit cards that you plan to use, as unused credit cards may negatively impact your credit rating.
  • Apply for minor loans. Applying for a loan from your local bank and making regular payments to pay it off, as dictated by your lender, is another great way to build credit. Similar to credit cards, paid loans will show lenders that you are capable of being financially responsible.
  • Pay your bills on time. Missed or late payments on any type of bill can negatively impact your credit score. Make sure that you are prompt with rental payments to landlords, phone bills, electricity bills, water bills, and more.
  • Maintain a regular source of income. Staying with the same employer for a long period of time is a good indicator that you have reliable income to support a mortgage. You may need to provide proof of your employment history, so keep any employment contracts or pay stubs from past or current jobs.


The process of building your credit can take 18-24 months, before you are in a position to apply for a loan. If you don’t want to wait this long, there are alternative ways to prove you have a strong credit history to lenders.

Saving for Your Down Payment

The size of the down payment that you’re able to contribute towards a new home is a major factor in securing a mortgage with good terms. As a new Canadian, you should start saving for your first down payment as soon as possible, as it’s one of the primary barriers to home ownership.

While it is generally recommended that you provide a larger down payment, as this will provide better terms for your mortgage, this is not always possible. You can secure a New to Canada mortgage with as little as a 5% down payment, provided that you meet certain conditions.

If you are not yet a permanent resident and you do not have a strong credit history, you may need to pay up to 10% on your initial down payment. Contact our team to learn more about how to navigate down payment requirements for a New to Canada mortgage.

Providing Proof of Alternate Credit

If you are interested in applying for a New to Canada mortgage, through default mortgage lenders like CMHC, Genworth Canada, or Canada Guaranty, then it is possible to provide alternate proof of strong credit. 

The verification process for these alternate credit checks may require a range of supporting documents, such as: 

  • A valid work permit.
  • Proof of landed immigrant status.
  • Employment contract or pay stubs.
  • Rent receipts or billing statements.
  • Bank statements (to confirm the amount of down payment available).
  • Letters of reference from banks or other financial institutions.
  • An international credit report.


The exact documents will depend on your mortgage program, your lender, and the size of your down payment. However, this alternate verification method can help you access a mortgage with a lower down payment.

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