Unlocking the Door to Your First Home: The Canadian Government's First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

Monday Jul 31st, 2023


Unlocking the Door to Your First Home: The Canadian Government's First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

By Sofia Rushyn

For many individuals and families, buying their first home is a dream that often seems out of reach due to the high costs associated with real estate. However, the Canadian Government has introduced an innovative solution to help turn that dream into reality—the First Home Savings Account (FHSA). This new incentive, part of the Home Buyer's Plan, offers a golden opportunity for aspiring homeowners to set aside funds specifically for purchasing or building their first home.

Photo: Thirdman/Pexels


The Basics of FHSA:

The FHSA operates much like the popular Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) but with a unique focus on homeownership. Canadian residents over the age of 18 are eligible to open an FHSA account at any major bank, either in person or conveniently online. While some smaller credit unions and banks are still awaiting approval to participate, the program's broad accessibility makes it a promising option for many.

Similar to the TFSA, the FHSA offers tax benefits on investments, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and GICs. Investors can contribute up to $8,000 annually to their FHSA, up to a maximum of $40,000 in the account. Notably, any unused contribution room rolls over into the following year, presenting a fantastic opportunity for long-term saving. However, exceeding the contribution limit triggers a 1% penalty, so careful planning is essential.

Making the Most of FHSA:

The true beauty of the First Home Savings Account lies in its focus on qualified withdrawals for first-time home purchases or construction projects. When the funds are withdrawn for these purposes, they are entirely tax-free, and all investment profits directly contribute to the purchase or construction of your dream home. To qualify for tax-free withdrawals, several conditions must be met:

  • The home must be your principal residence for at least one year after its purchase or completion.
  • The withdrawal from the FHSA must occur within the first 30 days of acquiring the home.
  • All acquisitions and construction must be completed by October 1, either within the current or following year.
  • Eligibility requires Canadian residency and being over 18 years old with no prior homeownership.

Keep in mind that FHSA comes with an expiry date. The account remains active for 15 years from the date of opening or for one year after the first withdrawal. Additionally, individuals over the age of 71 are ineligible to participate in the program, and if any of these conditions are met, the FHSA account will automatically close on December 31.

FHSA: A Family-Friendly Advantage:

An excellent tip to maximize the potential of FHSA is the opportunity it presents for couples. Both partners, if eligible, can open separate FHSA accounts, allowing them to save a combined total of $80,000 towards their first home. This doubling of contribution room can significantly expedite the path to homeownership and fulfill the dreams of couples seeking a place to call their own.


The Canadian Government's First Home Savings Account (FHSA) marks a significant step forward in supporting the aspirations of first-time homebuyers. With its tax-free investment growth and targeted focus on homeownership, the FHSA opens doors to a brighter future for many Canadians. By wisely utilizing this opportunity, potential homeowners can take confident strides towards turning their dreams into a reality. Whether you are a young professional, a newlywed couple, or someone looking to invest in their first property, the FHSA is your key to unlocking the door to homeownership and building a secure future for yourself and your loved ones. Start saving today and embrace the possibilities that the First Home Savings Account has to offer. Happy house hunting!

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