News release

Change to Down Payment Assistance Program

More Nova Scotians will get an opportunity to buy their first home with a change to the provincial Down Payment Assistance Program.

The Province is adopting the definition of first-time homebuyer used by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which will expand eligibility for the program.

“We’re pleased to make this change. It considers changing life circumstances and supports Nova Scotians who may have co-owned a home in the past with a partner and are now separated or divorced,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables, on behalf of John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “A broader definition means more people who need help from this program and are looking to buy a home will be included.”

CMHC defines a first-time homebuyer as someone who has:

  • never purchased a home before
  • gone through a breakdown of marriage or common-law partnership, or
  • has not occupied a home that either they or their current spouse or common-law partner owned in the last four years.

Applications based on the new definition will be accepted beginning January 1.


In our ongoing conversations with the Province of Nova Scotia, realtors have expressed concerns about the definition of a first-time buyer. We are pleased to see an updated definition today. Any time levels of government align definitions and policies is a benefit to Canadians. This particular change will allow more families in Nova Scotia to access programs and support to achieve their dreams of home ownership. Roger Boutilier, CEO, Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS

Quick Facts:

  • in June, changes to the Down Payment Assistance Program increased the maximum price of eligible properties and the total household income threshold
  • as of October 31, 108 applications have been approved under the program for 2022-23
  • the average residential home price in Nova Scotia in October was $385,756, an increase of 5.7 per cent year-over-year, according to the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS
  • today, November 22, is National Housing Day

Additional Resources:

Down Payment Assistance Program details are available at:

News release – Changes to Down Payment Assistance Program:

CMHC – first-time home buyer incentive: