First Home Buyer Grants – What’s Available?
First home buyer assistance in the form of a government grant has been around since it was introduced in 2000 to ease any slowing in home ownership caused by the GST. It was a federal government scheme, but is managed by the individual states and territories, so the fine print might be slightly different from state to state.
But basically, if you are a first time buyer, you can access a one-off grant, as long as you tick off a bunch of requirements.
Eligibility in common
The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) has evolved for different reasons over the years, so it’s important that new potential home buyers check in for the latest updates when beginning their property journey.
A number of states have now significantly changed or ceased the FHOG and replaced it with various other discounts, concessions or grants, often aimed at new properties to stimulate building and construction growth.
In just about all states and territories, to be eligible, you need to be aged at least 18; be an Aussie citizen or permanent resident; plan live in the home for 6 continuous month within 12 months after purchase or building completion; and have never previously owned your own home in Australia.
Brokering the deal
The FHOG will be organised on your behalf by your lender in most cases. Talk to your mortgage broker to make sure everything is being done the right way and with any questions about proving your eligibility. If you’re not going through a mortgage broker, then talk to your lender.
State of affairs
Let’s take a look at the basic requirements in each state and territory. Note, for full criteria, it’s best to check on your specific government’s website.
NSW– First home buyers can receive a $10,000 one off payment to buy or build a new home worth up to $750,000. You are also exempt from paying stamp duty for new homes worth up to $800,000 (with a concessional rate for new homes worth $800,000 to $1 million); or established homes worth up to $650,000 (with concessional rates for those priced between $650,000 and $800,000). If you buy vacant land, you will pay no duty on values up to $400,000.
VIC– Victoria offers a $10,000 FHOG for new or substantially renovated homes in metropolitan areas and a $20,000 FHOG if you are in a regional area. Stamp duty is waived on purchase values up to $600,000 and then discounted up to $750,000.
QLD– The FHOG is $15,000 for new or significantly renovated homes valued up to $750,000, including land. Stamp duty discounts are available for new or established homes, sliding from $8750 concession for homes valued up to $504,999, falling to $875 for homes valued up to $549,999.
You cannot have had an owner-occupier property, but interestingly, you can still be eligible if you have owned investment properties that have never been used as owner occupiers.
SA- You may get access to a FHOG of up to $15,000 on a brand new or substantially renovated home, valued at $575,000 or less.
WA- The FHOG is a one-off payment of $10,000 for the purchase of a new or substantially renovated home. The home has a value cap of $750,000 for properties south of the 26th parallel (all Perth metro areas included) and up to $1 million for homes north of the 26th parallel. Those eligible for the FHOG are also eligible for a concessional rate of duty, paying none on properties worth up to $430,000 and then $19.19 per $100 up to $530,000.
ACT- First home buyers are eligible for up to $7000 and pay no duty on home purchases, both new and existing, provided their gross household income does not exceed $160,000 a year (couple with no kids), or $177,000 a year (with five kids), and a sliding scale between the two figures for 1 to 4 kids.
TAS- First home buyers building a new residence or purchasing a newly built residence may be eligible for a grant of up to $10,000. Those buying an established home may be eligible for a First Home Owner Duty Concession of 50% for homes valued at $400,000 or less.
NT- Since 2019, a FHOG of $10,000, plus a grant of up to $2000 to buy household goods are available to first home buyers. The FHOG is now only available for new homes (not established). Your income and the price of your home don’t affect your eligibility. Stamp duty concessions of up to $18,601 may also be available on established homes.
In addition to the FHOG, the federal government’s HomeBuilder scheme offered owner-occupiers up to $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. This grant was part of stimulus measures in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns. Applications must be received by December 31, 2020 for the $25,000, before it reduces to $15,000 for contracts entered into between 1 January and 31 March, 2021.
Payment of the grants differs across three categories: new build, substantial renovations, or off-the-plan/new home purchase.
For new builds, you will be paid after construction has commenced and the first progress payment has been made to your builder.
For renovations, you’re paid after construction has commenced and at least $150,000 of the contract price has been paid in respect of the renovation.
For off-the-plan/new home purchases, grants will be paid after your name is registered on the title.
Applicants may be eligible for both the FHOG and HomeBuilder scheme, but to be sure, it’s best to check in with your state or territory government.