Need help buying your first home in NSW? The first home owner grant could give you the boost you need.
If you’re a first home buyer and you’re buying or building a new home, you may qualify for a $10,000 grant.
What is the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)?
The first home owner grant is a government payment that can help towards the cost of purchasing your first home.
You may be eligible for the first home owner grant (known as FHOG) if you’re buying property for the first time as long as you intend to live by yourself.
The FHOG was introduced country-wide in 2000 to offset the effects of the GST on home buyers. Now, it’s used in NSW to do two things:
- Help first home buyers get onto the property ladder; and
- Encourage the construction of new homes.
How does the First Home Owners Grant operate in NSW?
In NSW, as at July 2018, the grant currently gives eligible first home owners $10,000 to purchase a new home of up to $600,000 or to build a new home up to $750,000.
The current grant applies to contracts dated after 1 January 2016. For contracts dated between 1 October 2012 and 31 December 2015, a higher grant of $15,000 applies.
If you’re an owner-builder, the contract date is the date when the building work commenced.
Who is eligible for the First Home Owners Grant in NSW?
To be eligible for the first home owner grant in NSW there are several criteria both you and the property must meet to receive the current $10,000 grant:
Requirements for the property and transaction:
- Contract date must be on or after 1 January 2016;
- The home must be brand new;
- The property must be valued at, or below, the First Home Owner Grant cap of $600,000 for buyers purchasing a new home and $750,000 for buyers building a new property.
Requirements for the applicant:
- All applicants must be over 18 and a person (not a company or trust)
- At least one applicant needs to be a permanent resident or Australian citizen
- You or your spouse (including a de facto spouse) must not have ever held an interest in any residential property in Australia before 1 July 2000
- You may still be eligible if you purchased a residential property after 1 July 2000 and didn’t live in it for more than six continuous months
- You must apply for the grant within 12 months of completion of home loan settlement
- You need to live in the home for a sustained period of at least six months within a year of taking ownership
Generally, you won’t be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant if you or your spouse/co-applicant:
- have previously owned or co-owned a residential property in Australia
- If one of the applicant has previously received a first home owner grant in any State or Territory unless they subsequently repaid it;
- have received an Australian first home owner grant under the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 in any state or territory
If you’re buying an existing home, you can apply for the grant if:
- this is the first time the house has been sold and
- the house has never been lived in before you move in, including by the builder or a tenant.
You or one of the other first home buyers who purchase with must move into the new home within 12 months after buying the property, 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 after construction is complete.
If you’re a member of the Australian Defence Force you may be exempt from the six-month residence requirement, provided all buyers are on the New South Wales electoral roll.
What types of property can first home owners in NSW buy?
In NSW, the First Home Owners Grant only applies to “new homes”, which the NSW government defines as a:
- Place of residence that has not been previously occupied (including by the builder, a tenant or any other occupant)
- If most or all of the house was removed or replaced
- If it is the first time the home has been sold after those renovations
- Property that has not been sold as a place of residence before
- New build, which includes a home that has been renovated and hasn’t been lived in since being renovated, including by the builder or a tenant.
How do I apply for the first home owner grant in NSW?
First homeowners can apply for the grant through their financial institution or other approved agent, such as a solicitor or conveyancer.
You can also apply directly through the State Revenue Office (SRO) by submitting a First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) Application form. If you apply this way, the house must have been completed, and you must be registered on title.
Remember, you need to lodge your application within 12 months of completion or settlement of your new home.
To find out more about the current details of eligibility criteria, visit the NSW State Revenue Office website or the government’s guide on firsthome.gov.au.
How long does it take to process my first home owners grant NSW application?
Generally, it’s fast! Once your application is received, it will typically take about five days to be processed.
When does the first home owners grant NSW get paid?
This depends on whether you’re buying or building. The grant will be paid:
- At settlement (if you are buying)
- At your first funds draw down, this usually happens when the slab is laid (if you are building)
You may choose how your First Home Owners Grant is paid, but generally, it is paid directly to the lender to reduce the deposit required.
Are first home owners in NSW able to claim any other concessions?
From 1 July 2017, first home buyers in NSW may be entitled to other concessions as part of the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme.
Currently, first home buyers in NSW don’t have to pay stamp duty on homes valued up to $650,000. If the home is valued between $650,000 and $800,000 a concessional rate is applied.
First home owners also don’t pay any stamp duty on vacant land worth up to $350,000, and only pay a concessional rate for land valued between $350,000 to $450,000.Insurance duty on lenders mortgage insurance has also been abolished for first home owners in NSW, potentially offering a saving if you’re borrowing more than 80% of a property’s value.
NSW to phase out stamp duty
The New South Wales government is proposing to abolish stamp duty as part of its 2020-21 budget announcement on 17 November 2020.
Instead of paying stamp duty upfront, it would be replaced by an annual property tax. Property buyers will be given an option to either pay stamp duty upfront or pay a smaller annual property tax.
The NSW government is currently in consultation phase regarding the stamp duty reform until March 2021.
Do you need help?
We help our customers with their first home owners grant application. Please contact us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and we will assist you to complete the form, provide the correct supporting documentation as well as following up with the lender to make sure your grant is approved and paid promptly.