One of the top reasons Canadians continue renting is that they don’t have enough savings for a down payment. Read more in our Mortgage Consumer Survey.

CMHC Purchase can help open the doors to homeownership. It enables homebuyers to buy a home with a minimum down payment of 5% from flexible sources. These sources include savings, the sale of a property or a gift from a relative.

Download our CMHC Purchase Fact Sheet (PDF).


  • A minimum down payment starting at 5%.
  • In addition to traditional sources, non-traditional sources of down payment are permitted for loan-to-value ratios from 90.01% to 95%.*

*For more information on traditional and non-traditional sources of down payment, see the Eligibility Requirements section below.


Let’s look at the difference between purchasing a single-detached home priced at $760,000. We’ll compare a conventional down payment with a CMHC Purchase down payment.

Conventional down payment

$760,000 x 20% = $152,000

Down payment with CMHC Purchase

= 5% of $500,000 + 10% of $260,000

= $25,000 + $26,000

= $51,000


In this example, CMHC Purchase mortgage loan insurances reduces the minimum down payment required by $101,000.

Homeownership Tools

Our Homebuying Step by Step Guide helps Canadians look at housing options, expected costs and their personal financial situation. It can help them decide whether homeownership is right for them.

We also offer a series of home buying calculators to help Canadians in their home purchase planning.


Eligible borrowers

Individuals who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or non-permanent residents who are legally authorized to work in Canada.

Loan-to-value (LTV) ratios

For homeowner loans (owner-occupied properties), the loan-to-value ratio for 1 – 2 units is up to 95% LTV. For 3 – 4 units, the ratio is up to 90% LTV.

For small rental loans (non-owner occupied), the loan-to-value ratio for 2 – 4 units is up to 80% LTV.

Minimum equity requirements

For homeowner loans, the minimum equity requirement for 1 – 2 units is 5% of the first $500,000 of lending value and 10% of the remainder of the lending value. For 3 – 4 units, the minimum equity requirement is 10%.

For small rental loans, the minimum equity requirement is 20%.

Purchase price / lending value, amortization and location

For both homeowner and small rental loans, the maximum purchase price / lending value or as-improved property value must be below $1,000,000.

For homeowner loans, CMHC-insured financing is available for one property per borrower/co-borrower at any given time.

The maximum amortization period is 25 years.

The property must be located in Canada and must be suitable and available for full-time, year-round occupancy. The property must also have year-round access (via a vehicular bridge or ferry if it is on an island).

Traditional and non-traditional down payments

A traditional down payment comes from sources such as savings, the sale of a property, or a non-repayable financial gift from a relative.

A non-traditional down payment must be arm’s length and not tied to the purchase and sale of the property, either directly or indirectly, such as unsecured personal loans or unsecured lines of credit. Non-traditional down payments are available for 1 – 2 units, with 90.01% to 95% LTV, with a recommended minimum credit score of 650.

Rental income

Whether the property is owner occupied or non-owner occupied, subject to an MLI application or not, we offer different approaches to rental income for qualification purposes.

Find out more about the approach(es) that can be used to calculate rental income and the inputs to consider when calculating the debt service ratios.


At least one borrower (or guarantor) must have a minimum credit score of 600. In certain circumstances, a higher recommended minimum credit score may be required. CMHC may consider alternative methods of establishing creditworthiness for borrowers without a credit history.

Debt service guidelines

The standard threshold is a gross debt service (GDS) ratio of 35% and a total debt service (TDS) ratio of 42%. The maximum threshold is a GDS ratio of 39% and a TDS ratio of 44% (recommended minimum credit score of 680). CMHC considers the strength of the overall mortgage loan insurance application, including the recommended minimum credit scores.

Interest rates

The GDS and TDS ratios must be calculated using an interest rate that is either the contract interest rate or the Bank of Canada’s 5-year conventional mortgage interest rate, whichever is greater.

Advancing options

Single advances include improvement costs less than or equal to 10% of the as-improved value.

Progress advances include new construction financing or improvement costs greater than 10% of the as-improved value. With Full Service, CMHC validates up to 4 consecutive advances at no cost. For Basic Service, the Lender validates advances without pre-approval from CMHC.

Non-permanent residents (homeowner loans only)

Non-permanent residents must be legally authorized to work in Canada (with a work permit). Mortgage loan insurance is only available for non-permanent residents for homeowner loans for 1 unit, up to 90% LTV, with a down payment from traditional sources.

Non-permanent residents are not eligible for alternative methods of establishing creditworthiness. In cases where a credit report is not available, a letter of reference from the borrower’s financial institution in their country of origin may be considered.




This material is a quick reference tool for CMHC’s common Mortgage Loan Insurance. Additional conditions may apply.

This information is subject to change at any time. Please verify with CMHC that you have the most up to date information before the loan is processed.

Date Published:: February 22, 2019