Municipal Affairs Minister John Lohr at the announcement. (Communications Nova Scotia photo)

EAST HANTS/HALIFAX: Enhancements to the Province’s Down Payment Assistance Program mean more homes in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and the Municipality of East Hants qualify and first-time homebuyers can receive more financial support.

People using the program can now purchase homes in those areas that are priced up to $570,000, up from $500,000.

The change also raises the maximum loan available through the program to $28,500, up from $25,000.

“We are committed to regularly reviewing our programs and making changes that will allow more people to purchase their first home,” said John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Recent research and evidence showed that the financial support we were offering first-time homebuyers in HRM and East Hants was not enough to keep up with the home prices in those areas.

“We listened, and I am confident these changes will help more people and families purchase their first home so they can build a life here in Nova Scotia.”


The Down Payment Assistance Program helps Nova Scotians who pre-qualify for an insured mortgage to buy their first home by providing a loan of up to five per cent of the purchase price to assist with the down payment.

There is a cap on the purchase price that varies by region.

Recent Nova Scotia Association of Realtors MLS Home Price Index data showed that the average sale price of a home in HRM and East Hants was $565,485, which is higher than the original program cap for those areas.

The research also showed that the program’s price caps for other areas of the province were in line with average prices and do not require adjustment at this time.


The other purchase price caps are:
– $375,000 in West Hants Regional Municipality, Annapolis Valley (Kings, Annapolis and Digby counties) and the South Shore (Shelburne, Queens and Lunenburg counties); the maximum loan eligibility in these areas is $18,750
– $300,000 in Yarmouth County and northern and eastern regions (Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties and Cape Breton); the maximum loan eligibility in these areas is $15,000.

To be eligible for the program, an applicant’s total household income must be less than $145,000.

Since 2021, 604 first-time homebuyers have received assistance under the program.

The Department will continue to monitor home price data and use that information to inform future program adjustments, if needed.


“Realtors in Nova Scotia work closely with our provincial partners to provide housing data and expertise, particularly to help improve programs that meaningfully impact homeownership.

“We’re pleased today to see increasing support for first-time buyers in Halifax and East Hants. Since Realtors proposed the Down Payment Assistance Program in 2017, it has helped over 1,100 families buy homes in our province.” 
Roger Boutilier, CEO, Nova Scotia Association of Realtors

Quick Facts:
– in June 2022, changes to the Down Payment Assistance Program increased the maximum price of eligible properties and the total household income
– in November 2022, the Province adopted the definition of first-time homebuyer used by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which expanded eligibility for the program to allow more people to qualify
– the average residential home price in Nova Scotia was $431,817 as of April 2024, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors