It’s no secret that the housing market in Canada has been growing exponentially over the past few years. Despite rising prices and hostile markets, buyers are still as determined as ever to get into a new home. Whether you’re already a homeowner looking to upgrade/downsize or you’re ready to make your first move into the real estate market, we all know the home buying process starts with saving up a down payment. The question is, how much do you actually need to set aside? The answer depends on where you live in Canada and how much you’re planning to spend on a home.

Average Housing Down Payments By Province

The average price of a home can vary greatly from province to province and as a result, so does the typical down payment. If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll want to learn more about average home prices in your province so you have a better idea of what investment you can expect to make when it comes to a down payment. This data from The Canadian Real Estate & Housing Market Forecast provides some further insight:

British Columbia

British Columbia takes the No. 1 slot, with home buyers spending an average of $159,762.64, or 22.5%, on a down payment. The average home in British Columbia is selling for much higher than other provinces at $916,741, so the average down payment percentages in this province are higher as a result.


On average, home buyers in Ontario put down more than homeowners in any other province (aside from British Columbia). Data has revealed that Ontarian’s made down payments of 20% – 22%, paying an average of $140,215.37 in the first quarter of 2021. The average home price in Ontario sits around $866,307, so many buyers are not eligible for CMHC mortgage insurance meaning their down payment needs to be at least 20%.


When looking at the data from Q1, Quebec residents actually put down the lowest down payment on a house at just below 15% on average. The average home price in this province is $449,698 making it a very affordable province when it comes to investing in the real estate market.


Residents of Alberta had an average down payment of $62,929.45 (15.15%), just behind Quebec for the lowest among the test markets. The province has an average home price of almost half the average in Ontario at $442,808.

Nova Scotia

With the lowest average home price amongst the test markets at $363,330, Nova Scotians are putting down an average payment of 18.54% ($57,781.46). This data shows a significant increase from April – September 2020 which had the average down payment at 14.26%. It seems Atlantic Canada is now a hot housing destination and trends are predicting a continuing climb upward in years to come.

Minimum Down Payment Requirements

A down payment is the amount of money you put toward the purchase of a home. Your lender then deducts this amount from the purchase price of your home and your mortgage covers the remaining balance. The minimum amount of money you’ll need for a down payment will depend entirely on the price of the home you’re buying, as it’s calculated as a percentage. If your down payment will end up being less than 20% of the price of your home, you’ll need to purchase mortgage loan insurance as you’ll be seen as a higher risk in the eyes of your lender.

If the home costs $500,000 or less, you’ll be required to make a 5% down payment. If the home costs $500,000 – $999,999, you’ll be required to make a down payment of 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price, and 10% for whatever portion of the purchase is above that threshold. If the home you’re looking at costs $1 million or more, you’ll need to put down 20% of the purchase price.

There’s also a chance these numbers could go up based on poor credit history or self-employment so getting preapproved is an important part of the home buying process as it helps you feel more prepared in terms of what you can afford based on your personal financial situation.

Different Types Of Minimum Down Payment

Depending on what kind of real estate transaction you’re seeking, there are different types of down payments you may need to consider as a result:

Owner-Occupied Home

5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the amount above $500,000. Total the two numbers to arrive at the required minimum. A 20% down payment is the minimum to avoid the CMHC premium, which can be as much as 4% if less than 20% is applied to the down payment.

Rental Property

For most lenders, 20% is the minimum down payment required for a rental property.


A second home for recreation, family or other purposes can be bought with as little as a 5% down payment. At 20% down, there is no CMHC/default insurance fee.

Your down payment plays a huge role in determining your mortgage rate. If you put down less than 20% of the purchase price, you’re looking at a CMHC or “high ratio” default insured mortgage. Since the lender will be fully protected if you default, they can offer some of the best mortgage rates on the market due to lack of risk. In fact, most of the rates you’ll see advertised online or as part of financial institution’s campaigns, are CMHC or high ratio mortgage rates. Putting down a 20% down payment means the lender no longer has the security of being protected from default with mortgage loan insurance like they do for less than 20%. Because the risk is higher, the rates will rise accordingly. Making a 25% or higher down payment decreases the risk for the lender enough for them to offer rates more comparable to those you’ll find as part of a high ratio mortgage. Some lenders will require a down payment of 35%+ in order to obtain those low rates found in the high-ratio mortgage category.

Understanding the ins and outs of mortgage down payments in Canada can make your home buying process a lot smoother. Knowing what minimums are required, what options you can choose from and how your down payment will affect your mortgage rates, can help you better navigate the home buying experience and ensure you get the home of your dreams with zero uncertainty or stress. Want to learn more about your options but aren’t sure where to start? Reach out to our team!