There are a number of government grants and schemes available for first home buyers both at the national and state level.
However, numerous surveys have found that there is a lack of awareness among first home buyers about these programs.
So here we’ll list out the major first home owners grants and schemes as of 2020.
Nationwide government schemes for first home buyers
There are three major national government schemes currently available for first home buyers, namely:
- The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and the FHLDS (New Homes)
- The HomeBuilder Grant
- The First Home Super Saver Scheme
The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS)
This federal government Scheme allows eligible first home buyers with a small deposit (less than 20%) to get a home loan without paying tens of thousands in Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
However, there are only 10,000 Scheme places available in a financial year which are released on the 1st of July each year.
Realistically, in a given year only one in ten first home buyers will be able to use the Scheme due to the limited slots and the higher number of first home buyers.
As part of the 2020-2021 budget announcement, the federal government added 10,000 new Scheme places to the FHLDS (New Homes) but limited these new places to first home buyers purchasing new or newly built properties. They also increased the price caps for new properties.
Tip: To ensure your place in the scheme, you need to get your tax returns done as soon as possible. You’ll need the 2019-2020 Notice of Assessment from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to be eligible this year.
The HomeBuilder Grant
The HomeBuilder Grant is a $25,000 tax-free grant given to eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers to build a new home or to renovate an existing home.
This federal grant is designed to help the Australian residential construction market continue business.
This grant is only available for a limited time as to enter the building contract needs to be signed between 4 June 2020 to 31 December 2020.
The government announced an extension of the grant until 31 March 2021. For contracts signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021, the grant is $15,000.
Tip: A few banks are already accepting this grant as part of your funds to complete, and are issuing home loan pre-approvals based on that.
First Home Super Saver Scheme
The First Home Super Saver Scheme allows first home buyers to save a deposit for their first home inside their super.
This can help first home buyers save faster with the concessional tax treatment of superannuation.
Tip: You’ll need a determination letter from the ATO (Australian Taxation Authority) specifying the amount that can be released from your super to use as a deposit for a home loan.
Can I apply for multiple government grants and schemes?
Yes, you can if you’re eligible.
For example, an eligible first home buyer can technically apply for and qualify for the FHOG, the FHLDS, and the HomeBuilder grant while paying no stamp duty.
Since each government grant/scheme has its own eligibility criteria and timelines, getting these three to align properly becomes challenging, so, please speak with one of our specialist mortgage brokers to determine how best to proceed with this.
Call us on 1300 889 743 or fill in our online assessment form.
State-specific government grants and schemes for first home buyers
Each state has its own policy on the:
Please note that the FHOG is only available to first home buyers either purchasing or building a new home.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
The Australian Capital Territory replaced the First Home Owners Grant with the Home Buyers Concession Scheme.
Under the Home Buyers Concession Scheme, home buyers in the ACT will not pay stamp duty on a home purchase, subject to the following eligibility criteria:
- All buyers must be 18 years of age or above.
- The total gross income (before tax), including the partners (if any) must not be greater than the income threshold*.
- All buyers including their partners (if any) must not have owned any other property in the last two years.
- At least one buyer must live in the home continuously for at least one year, starting within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction.
Unlike the previous concession scheme, you can now purchase vacant residential land, and both new and established properties, anywhere in the ACT and at any price.
*The maximum income threshold for applicants without dependents should not exceed $160,000; for each dependent, the income threshold increases by $3,330 with the max set at $176,650.
For more information, please visit ACT Revenue Office’s website.
New South Wales (NSW)
First home buyers in NSW may be eligible for a:
- $10,000 First Home Owners Grant for a new home that no-one has lived in before.
- Full transfer (stamp) duty concession for both new and established properties valued up to $650,000, and partial concession for homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000.
- No stamp duty for vacant land valued at less than $350,000. And for land valued between $350,000 and $450,000, you’ll receive a concessional rate.
From 1 August 2020, the NSW government increased the threshold for stamp duty exemption for first home buyers from $650,000 to $800,000 for newly built homes and from $350,000 to $400,000 for vacant land.
For more information, please visit NSW Revenue Office’s website.
Northern Territory (NT)
Northern Territory (NT) has perhaps the most attractive government schemes and grants for both first home buyers and property owners in general.
This vast federal territory’s housing programs include:
- A $10,000 First Home Owners Grant to buy or build a new home in the Northern Territory.
- A First Home Owner Discount of up to $23,928.60 off stamp duty on an established home up to the value of $650,000.
- A $10,000 Home Renovation Grant for renovations.
- A $2,000 Household Goods Grant Scheme.
There is also the Home Buyer Initiative and the HomeBuild Access programs, please refer to NT.gov.au for more details.
Queensland has the following grants and schemes for first home buyers:
- A $15,000 FHOG towards buying or building your new house, unit or townhouse (valued at less than $750,000).
- A $5,000 Regional Home Building Boost Grant in QLD given after the purchase or construction of a brand-new house, unit or townhouse valued at less than $750,000.
- A First Home Concession wherein first home buyers pay no stamp duty for both new and existing property purchases under $550,000, a discount (concession) may still apply for a home valued over $550,000.
- A First Home Vacant Land Concession for transfer duty when acquiring vacant land to build your first home, if you meet certain requirements. It only applies to vacant land valued under $400,000.
For more information, please visit QLD.gov.au.
South Australia (SA)
South Australia has a $15 000 one-off FHOG for purchase or construction of a new home.
Unlike other states and territories, SA has no stamp duty exemption or concessions for first home buyers.
You can use our stamp duty calculator to work the duty payable on a SA property purchase.
For more information, please visit Revenue SA’s website.
First home buyers in Tasmania may be eligible for:
- A $20,000 grant for first home buyers who are building or purchasing a new residence or a newly built residence.
- A 50 per cent stamp duty discount on the purchase of an established home with a value of $400 000 or less.
For more information, please visit State Revenue Office of Tasmania’s website.
First home buyers in Victoria may be eligible for:
- A $20,000 FHOG for new homes built in regional Victoria, otherwise the FHOG is limited to $10,000 everywhere else in the state. The home must be valued at $750,000 or less, be the first sale of the property as residential premises and the home must be less than five years old.
- Stamp (transfer) duty exemption to purchase a new or established property in Victoria up to $600,000. A duty concession (discount) applies for properties valued between $600,000 and $750,000.
For more information, please visit State Revenue Office of Victoria’s website.
Western Australia (WA)
First home buyers in Western Australia (WA) may be eligible for:
- A $10,000 FHOG to buy or build a newly built residential property for use as their principal place of residence.
- Stamp duty waiver on a purchase of any home valued up to $430,000 for first home buyers. Discounted or concessional rates apply for homes valued between $430,001 and $530,000 for your principal place of residence.
For more information, please visit WA.gov.au.
How do I apply for these first home buyer government grants/schemes?
First off, you want to make sure that you’re eligible for the government scheme/grant you’re applying for. Each program has a slightly different eligibility requirement so you want to check off all the boxes prior to submitting your application.
Generally, you can apply for these government schemes and grants at the same time you apply for a home loan.
However, if you’re planning on utilising any of the aforementioned grants or schemes, please have a discussion with your bank or mortgage broker prior to submitting your application.
Most lenders will apply for the grant on your behalf once a formal home loan approval is granted, and you have signed any relevant applications/declaration.
For the stamp duty waiver, your solicitor will handle the paperwork for you on settlement day.
There can be different eligibility requirements so it’s best to consult with your mortgage broker or directly with your lender up front.
How can we help?
As mortgage brokers, we can:
- Apply for all the grants you’re eligible for
- Make the entire end-to-end process simpler for you
- Help you get a competitive interest rate on your home loan
- Make finding a property easier with suburb reports, and property reports of your choosing
- Order a free upfront valuation
- Help you through settlement and beyond.
Please speak with one of our specialist mortgage brokers by giving us a call on 1300 889 743 or by filling in our short assessment form to buy your first home.