Thanks to government efforts to accelerate home ownership and boost the homebuilding industry, first home buyers are now eligible for grants and subsidies. Each state and territory provides some sort of financial assistance to first home buyers. Here’s a basic overview of what’s on offer at the moment. Keep in mind, however, that this information can change.
New South Wales
In NSW, first home buyers are entitled to a range of one-off grants, exemptions and concessions when buying or building a new home.
The First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) scheme provides $10,000 to eligible first home buyers to help buy or build a new home. The value of the new home purchased must not be greater than $650,000. When you enter into a contract to build a property, or are an owner builder, the total value cannot exceed $750,000. At least one of the homeowners will need to live in the property for a continuous period of at least six months.
Through the First Home Buyers Assistance (FHBA) scheme, first home buyers are exempt from stamp duty (also known as transfer duty) on new homes up to $650,000, and on vacant land up to $350,000. They will receive stamp duty concessions on new homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000, and on vacant land valued between $350,000 and $450,000.
Additionally, under the FHBA scheme, shared equity arrangements allow eligible purchasers to buy property with other parties and still receive a concession.
The Victorian FHOG of $10,000 is available to first home buyers for new homes valued up to $750,000. It requires at least one applicant to live in the property continuously for a minimum of 12 months. For new homes built in regional Victoria and valued up to $750,000 the FHOG is $20,000
The FHOG doesn’t apply to established properties. However, whether the home is new or established, first home buyers can apply for the first home buyer duty exemption when they buy a property valued up to $600,000. A duty concession applies when the value is more than $600,000 but not more than $750,000. Depending on eligibility requirements, some first home buyers may also receive a principal place of residence (PPR) duty concession (for homes valued at $550,000 or less).
The Queensland First Home Owner’s Grant of $20,000 is available to people buying or building a new home up to the value of $750,000. All grant applicants must live in the home continuously for at least six months.
First home buyers can also claim a first home exemption on transfer duty for homes valued at less than $550,000 as well as land valued at less than $400,000. However, the government also offers a duty concession for homes valued over this amount and has created a handy table to explain the differences.
The South Australian Government’s FHOG offers people buying or building new homes a grant up to $15,000, provided the market value of the property doesn’t exceed $575,000. All of the applicants must live in the home continuously for at least six months.
There’s also an incentive to support the construction of apartments, with off-the-plan buyers eligible for partial stamp duty concessions on apartments anywhere in South Australia. These concessions currently have an end date of 30 June, 2018, so check the RevenueSA website for updates.
The FHOG in the ACT is currently $7,000 for purchasers of new or substantially renovated properties up to the value of $750,000. There’s a residency requirement of one year for at least one of the homeowners.
The ACT Government offers a range of other assistance to home buyers, including the Home Buyer Concession Scheme (HBCS) and Deferred Duty.
The HBCS applies to new homes, but there is a property ownership test, and thresholds on both the property value and the home buyer’s income. The conditions generally change every 12 months, so check the ACT Revenue Office website for the latest information.
If buyers qualify for either the FHOG or the HBCS, they can apply to defer payment of the duty. If they would have qualified for the FHOG but are buying an established property, they can still apply to defer the duty payment.
The Northern Territory’s First Home Owner Grant offers up to $26,000 to first home buyers and builders of new properties. It requires at least one applicant to live in the home continuously for a minimum of six months.
For first home buyers of established properties there’s the ‘First home owners discount’ scheme, which provides a discount of up to $23,928.60 on stamp duty.
First home owners can apply for Western Australia’s FHOG of $10,000 if they’re buying or building a new property. The maximum value of the property can be $750,000 if it’s located south of the 26th parallel of south latitude, or $1 million if located north of the 26th parallel of south latitude. Each applicant must live in the home for a continuous period of at least six months.
All first home buyers, whether purchasing a new or established property, may be entitled to the first home owner rate of duty. The value of the home must not exceed $530,000.
First home buyers of properties up to $400,000 might also be eligible for a grant from the Home Buyers Assistance Account. This provides up to $2,000 for incidental expenses associated with purchasing a first home. In order to apply for this grant, buyers must meet certain criteria, including purchasing through a licensed real estate agent and having their loan financed through a lending institution, and they must intend to live in the home for at least 12 months. The home must be established or partially built, not vacant land or a house and land package.
Tasmania’s FHOG was last year boosted to $20,000 for eligible first home buyers and builders. The property must be new or off-the-plan, and all grant applicants must live in the home for a continuous period of at least six months. Land tax is not payable on a principal place of residence. First home buyers should apply for a principal residence land classification.
Help is at hand
The good news is that financial assistance is available to first home buyers all around Australia, so your children could enter the property market sooner than you think. However, the rules are different in every state and territory, so you should always thoroughly review the requirements. A mortgage broker will have the latest information and will be able to explain how each grant or assistance scheme relates to your personal situation.