Do you cringe every month when it's time to write that monthly rent cheque? If you are currently renting, you may be surprised to learn that there have been recent mortgage product innovations such as a minimal down payment (0-5 per cent) and extended amortization that can make owning your first home more than a pipe dream.

This is a great time to get into the housing market (resale house prices are expected to appreciate by 5.2 per cent in 2008) but when it comes buying their first home, many renters hesitate because they are concerned about not having a significant down payment, and the ability to carry monthly costs. However, renters can now buy their first home with very little down and not have to worry about high mortgage payments.

With minimal or zero down payment products, many financial institutions will provide you with 100 per cent financing for the purchase price of the house. Some lenders may also let you borrow close to 100 per cent in financing and offer you a small percentage back as cash. For instance, with a lender like CIBC, you are able to borrow 95 per cent of the purchase price to put towards your down payment, closing costs, or other costs associated with purchasing a home.

“This is a great product for young professionals who may not have been able to save for a down payment due to student loan repayment but do have income to support monthly mortgage payments,” says David Marsden, CIBC Mortgage Specialist.

Remember that if you do have money set aside for a down payment or have RRSPs, you should still consider putting a larger down payment because this does lower your total mortgage amount and ultimately the amount you will pay in interest.

A valuable resource for information on homeownership is the CMHC website (

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