Buying your first home is an exciting time and a first home owner grant can make it more affordable.
However, there’s a lot to learn before diving in; and it’s constantly changing.
Trying to keep up to date with what the politician’s decide is difficult, especially when regulations vary interstate; but they can be beneficial to you as a first time buyer.
So here we break down the government assistance on offer for you, state-by-state. This includes first home owner grant and stamp duty concessions.
What are first time home buyer grants?
This grant is actually called the first home owners grant (FHOG).
It was first introduced in 2000 to help soften the blow of the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST).
It provides a one-off cash payment to people who are building or buying their first home. The grants range between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on which state you live in.
What other concessions are available to first time home buyers?
In addition to the FHOG, there are a range of exemptions and concessions available for first time home buyers and non-first home buyers.
These exemptions and concessions relate to the transfer duty also known as “stamp duty”.
Show me the money: state-by-state breakdown of what’s on offer
Below is a snapshot of the help offered to first time home buyers by each state as at 1 July 2019.
Please bear in mind that this information changes regularly. Check your local state or territory revenue office website to confirm that the details are still current (click on the links below).
You may qualify for a $10,000 first home owner grant under the FHOG scheme if you purchased your home on or after 1 January 2016 and if:
- Your newly constructed home or a substantially renovated home has a total value below $600,000.
- Any land intended for building your dwelling has a combined value of less than $750,000.
NSW also offers the first home buyer assistance scheme. This provides a full exemption or concessional rate of stamp duty, depending on the purchase price of the property. It applies to first home owners buying new homes, existing homes or land.
There is a full exemption on homes valued below $650,000 ($350,000 for vacant land) or a scaled concessional rate from $650,000 to $800,000 ($350,000 to $450,000 for vacant land).
Victoria offers a $10,000 first home owner grant for new builds up to $750,000 ($20,000 for new homes built in regional Victoria, for contracts signed between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2020).
Victoria also offers a range of exemptions and concessions on stamp duty. These are not just directed at first time home buyers:
- The first home buyer duty exemption or concession reduction: a one-off duty exemption for a principal place of residence (PPR) valued up to $600,000; or a concession for a PPR with a value between $600,001 and $750,000.
- The pensioner duty exemption or concession: a one-off duty exemption or concession for a new or established home valued up to $750,000.
- The principal place of residence (PPR) concession: a duty concession for a property valued up to $550,000 that you buy as your intended primary home.
- The first-home owner with family exemption or concession: a one-off duty exemption or concession for properties valued at $200,000 or less.
- The young farmer’s duty exemption or concession: a one-off duty exemption or concession for young farmers buying their first farmland property. There is a full exemption for properties up to $600,000 and a concession for properties from $600,001 to $750,000.
Queensland offers a $15,000 first home owner grant for contracts dated 1 July 2018 or later, for new homes valued at less than $750,000.
Also on offer are a few concessions on stamp duty, including:
- The first home concession: a stamp duty concession available to first home buyers with a purchase price up to $550,000.
- The home concession: another stamp duty concession but, unlike the first home concession, it can be claimed if you have owned a home before. It applies to the first $350,000 of the purchase price and the general stamp duty rates then apply to the balance.
- A first home vacant land concession can be claimed for stamp duty when acquiring vacant land to build your first home. This concession only applies to vacant land valued at under $400,000.
Western Australia offers a $10,000 first home owners grant for properties up to $750,000 south of the 26ᵗʰ parallel; or properties up to $1,000,000 north of the 26ᵗʰ parallel. It’s worth noting that all Perth metropolitan areas are south of the 26ᵗʰ parallel.
WA also offer a concession on stamp duty called the first home owner rate of duty concession. There is a full exemption of stamp duty for first time home buyers purchasing a home valued at less than $430,000; and a concession for homes valued between $430,000 and $530,000.
South Australia provides a first home owner grant of $15,000 for new builds up to the value of $575,000.
The state does not currently offer any stamp duty concessions or exemptions, though.
As part of the 2019-20 state budget, the Tasmanian government extended the $20,000 first home owners grant for one year, from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 for newly built homes.
For eligible transactions entered into from 1 July 2020 onwards, the grant will be $10,000. There seems to be no limit on the purchase price to be eligible for this grant.
Tasmania also offer a duty concession for first home buyers of existing properties: a 50 percent discount on stamp duty up to $400,000 purchase price.
This concession is for first time home buyers buying an existing property only. It is not available for applications entitled to the FHOG for newly built homes.
From 1 July 2019, the first home owner grant ceased in the ACT.
Eligible applicants who enter into a transaction with a commencement date on or after this date will NOT be entitled to the FHOG payment.
Note that, if you’re building a home, the commencement date is the day that the foundations start being laid.
From 7 May 2019, if you are buying or building a new home in the Northern Territory, you can apply for a first home owners grant of $10,000.
If you’re buying or building a new home in the NT, you can apply for the BuildBonus grant of $20,000. However, this grant is limited to the first 600 applications.
The Northern Territory also offers a discount on stamp duty called the territory home owner discount.
This is available to buyers who have not owned a property in the NT in the 24 months prior to the date of the sales contract being signed, when the home is their principal place of residence.
Do you qualify for a first home owner grant?
Regardless of your state of residence, there are a few qualifying ground rules to be aware of with the first time home buyers grant. The most common include:
- You must be an individual, not a company or trust.
- You must be over 18.
- You, or at least one person you’re buying with, must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- You, or one of the other first time home buyers who purchase with you, must move into the new home within 12 months of buying it and live there for at least six continuous months.
- If you’re buying land and building a new home, you must move in within 12 months of construction being completed.
Generally, you won’t be eligible for the FHOG if you or your spouse have:
- Previously owned or co-owned a home in Australia; or
- Previously received an Australian first home owner grant.
Before you apply for a first home owner grant…
To confirm the current eligibility criteria for the first home owner grant in your particular area, check your state revenue office website or visit the government’s guide on first home.
A skilled mortgage broker will be invaluable if you are looking to buy your first home. And, what’s more, if the mortgage broker you choose is anything like us, it won’t cost you a cent to get some advice.
To speak with one of our expert mortgage brokers and discuss your property purchase, contact us here.