FHSA Canada: Understanding the newest tool for homeownership.

The FHSA in Canada is a new account for aspiring homeowners. Is it the answer to fixing housing affordability in Canada? Well, no, in fact, it does nothing to address the affordability gap in housing , but it does provide a little extra savings bump that can help Canadians save for a down payment for their first home. Homeownership is expensive, but with rents rising at an average of 10% a year, home ownership may still be on many people’s minds. 

Understanding the First Home Savings Account

The First Home Savings Account is a savings and investment vehicle which gives the saver some tax benefits and helps them save for their first home. Think of it as combining the best parts of the TFSA and the RRSP. The account contributions are tax deductible (like the RRSP), and the growth is Tax-Free (like the TFSA) when used for buying your first home. 

Unlike the TFSA, you do not automatically start accruing contribution room until you actually open an account. Also, unlike the RRSP, you do not have to pay yourself back the funds withdrawn to purchase a home. 

The account should be utilized to purchase your first home and can be combined with other savings and investment accounts to pull together your down payment. 

Benefits of Opening a First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

  • You start accruing the contribution room on a carry-forward basis only once you open the account. You won’t get the room if you don’t open the account. 
  • Your contributions are tax-deductible, just like the RRSP. A contribution reduces your taxable income and could potentially result in a tax refund. 
  • You can use the FHSA, in combination with the RRSP Home Buyers Plan and other savings, to accumulate a down payment on your first home.
  • You can get the tax benefits of the FHSA even if you do not eventually buy a home (We know the Canadian housing market is crazy, and it’s not in the cards for every Canadian).
  • FHSA funds roll over into your RRSP if not used within 15 years. 
FHSA Canada

Account Eligibility

The Government of Canada laid out the ground rules of the FHSA and who can open an FHSA account. Here are the basics:

  • You are a Canadian Resident (with a SIN or Temporary SIN).
  • You are at least the age of majority in your province or territory.
  • You have not lived in a home you own over the past 4 years
  • You must be 71 years of age or younger 

FHSA Limits

The annual FSHA contribution limit is $8000, and the total lifetime FHSA contribution limit is $40,000. If you over contribute to your account you will “pay a tax of 1% per month on the highest excess FHSA amount in that month”

Account Features 

  • Contributions are tax-deductible.
  • Both partners can save in an FHSA to buy their first family home.
  • You have 15 years to use the account.
  • Contributions & growth rollover into RRSP if not used without affecting RRSP limits.
  • Can be combined with HBP/RRSP and other savings to gather your down payment.
  • May be eligible even if you already own property in certain circumstances

What is a “Qualifying Home” or “Qualifying Purchase”?

A qualifying home is a home that meets the criteria of the FHSA account. The CRA outlines that ‘qualifying home’ includes the following types of houses in Canada that are prebuilt or in the process of being built: 

  • Single-family homes
  • Semi-Detached Homes
  • Townhouses
  • Mobile homes
  • Condos
  • Apartments
  • Share in a co-op home.
This new home should become your principal place of residence within one year. 

Should you save or invest in your FHSA?

Just like the TFSA & RRSP – the FHSA also has the term “Savings Account” in the name, but that doesn’t mean it is only for savings. You can save cash or invest in any of these accounts. For long-term timelines like retirement, you do want to be investing to reap the most benefit and growth. 

Saving or investing in the FHSA is a decision that needs to be made mostly depending on your time horizon – aka how long until you plan to buy a home.

With any short-term timeline, you never want to invest money you will need soon. The risk is too high that investing it in the stock market could result in your account losing value when you need to withdraw it.  

Short-term options to consider are savings accounts with high-interest rates or GICs with shorter time frames. You may be able to earn some interest while not risking your down payment.

If you have more than five years to consider buying a house, it is more reasonable to consider investing rather than saving.

Institutions offering an FHSA in Canada

Since being introduced in 2023, many institutions have been slow to roll out their accounts; several institutions now offer them. Some offer only savings accounts, and some offer investing accounts. This is not an exhaustive list, but we cover the main options for Canadians to open an FHSA at banks and brokerages below!

FHSA at Wealthsimple

FHSA Wealthsimple

The Wealthsimple FHSA account is an investment account. Use this account if you want to invest in the stock market into individual stocks, ETF’s or Index funds.  Investing can be considered when you have a timeline that is longer than 5 years before you will need the money. 



CIBC FHSA offers a wide variety of saving and investing options.  They have a good rate on the savings account at 5% interest. They also offer non-redeemable GICs for up to 5% depending on your term or self directed or advisor led investing.



Neither TD DIrect Investing or TD Easy Trade offer an FHSA at the time of publishing this article. TD offers GIC or Mutual funds in an FHSA, but you would need to go visit them at a branch to set up the account.  



BMO seems to have limited offerings, the account does not seem to be available through BMO Smartfolio or BMO Investorline.  The BMO Options are either savings, GICs or Mutual funds. Again, it seems you need to book an appointment to open an account. 



The RBC FHSA is available a at RBC Direct Investing as a self-directed investing account or through their robo advisor service RBC Investease.  You can invest in Stocks, Bonds, GICs, Mutual Funds, ETFs and Index Funds. They do not seem to have a savings only account at this time. 

FHSA at Scotiabank

FHSA Scotiabank

Scotia bank offers a FHSA account  where you can save, or invest in GICs, Mutual Funds, and preset portfolios of Scotia ETF’s and mutual funds.

Questrade FHSA

FHSA Questrade

Questrade FHSA offers you the option of self directed or Robo advisor investing, but no savings account option. Signup bonuses are available for new accounts. 

Qtrade FHSA

FHSA Qtrade

Qtrade Direct Investing offers Canadians a self-directed investment account. They also have regular promotions that could snag you some bonuses for opening and funding your account. 

Current Bonus: Get $50 upon opening and funding a new account, up to $150 for 3 accounts. 

FHSA at moomoo

FHSA moomoo

Moomoo is the newest entrant to the Canadian brokerage market. They offer a self-directed investment account with opening and funding bonuses. 



EQ Bank offers savings accounts and GIC’s to grow your savings.  The interest rate on their Savings account is a bit lower than other available options, but the GIC rate is attractive. 

FAQs for The FHSA Canada

The FHSA presents a few tricky scenarios, so let’s discuss the most common FAQs. For a more detailed FAQ list, check out this Questrade FHSA FAQ Page, which covers many possible scenarios. 

Q.1. I own a rental property that I do not live in and have not lived in for the past 4 years. Can I still open an account?

Surprisingly, the answer may be yes, you can, so long as you do not own a home you have lived in for the past 4 years.  

Q.2. What if I do not end up buying a home?

After 15 years if you do not buy a home, the account should be closed and the account balance will be transferred to your RRSP account. 

Q.3. I do not have contribution room in my RRSP. What happens if I don’t buy a home and must move the account over?

The amount can be transferred to your RRSP (or RRIF) regardless of your available contribution room. 

Q.4. I need to withdraw my money for a reason other than buying a home. 

You will be taxed on the withdrawal from the account, and the money will be treated as taxable income.  Just like withdrawing from the RRSP for reasons other than the Home Buyers Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan. Any non-qualified use results in paying income tax. 

Q.5. I don’t currently have a plan to buy a home – Should I still open an FHSA?

We never know what will happen in the future, so although your plan now may not include buying a home in the near future, those plans may change. You can grow your retirement savings and utilize tax deductions through the account if you don’t buy a home, and you will have the account there if you do! 

Is the FHSA for you?

This overview of the FHSA, Canada’s newest account for home ownership, detailed the account’s ins and outs as well as options for opening one. It should have given you a good understanding of who the account is for, how to use the it, and where to open an account with your preferred account type. I wish you all the best in your journey to homeownership! 

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