First Home Owner Grant made simple

Tips


Tuesday 01 November 2016

Are you eligible for a government grant?


When you’re buying your first home, every dollar helps. So you may be wondering if you’re eligible for a government grant to give your deposit a boost. 

You’ve probably heard of the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) – a national scheme originally introduced on 1 July 2000. Sixteen years on, the number of First Home Owner Grants being paid for new properties across Australia is on the rise. For example, according to the NSW Office of State Revenue, 8,5011 grants were made in NSW in 2015, an increase of 11% compared to 2014.

However, navigating the requirements for this government scheme isn't easy – every state is different and both the criteria and amounts payable have changed over the years. This quick guide should answer a few of your questions. 

Q. What exactly is the First Home Owner Grant?

A. It is a government initiative to help people buying their first home in Australia. State and territory governments pay the grant on behalf of the Federal Government and the conditions vary according to where you live, with some states and territories even offering extra bonuses such as stamp duty exemptions and concessions. There may also be additional benefits for newly-constructed homes in some areas.

The grant is not means-tested and there you don’t have to pay tax on the amount you receive.

Q. How do I know if I’m eligible for it?

A. You can apply for the First Home Owner Grant if:

  • you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • you are at least 18 years old
  • you are a first home buyer as a person, not as a company or trust
  • you or your spouse/partner have not previously owned a property in Australia
  • you or your spouse/partner have not previously claimed the grant
  • the property you buy is designed for residential use.

Q. Are there any conditions?

A. While the conditions do vary depending on the state you live in, typically you can expect the following requirements:

  • your First Home Owner Grant application must be made within 12 months of settlement, or building completion if it’s a new home
  • you must occupy the property for a minimum required period (usually six months) within 12 months of settlement or building completion
  • contracts for the home must be exchanged between you and the seller within specified dates.

Q. When is the grant money paid?

A. This depends on the type of property you’re buying:

  • established homes (‘previously sold or occupied, and lawfully fit for occupation’) – payment is made upon settlement
  • contracts to build – the grant is paid to the builder at the same time as the first progress payment
  • owner/builders – you will receive the grant on receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy
  • new homes (‘never previously been lived in or sold as a place of residence’) – payment is made upon settlement
  • off-the-plan purchases – payment is made upon settlement.

Q. How do I apply?

A. The application process differs across Australia, but basically you have two options:

  1. Lodge your application through an approved agent – such as your bank or mortgage provider, or
  2. Download the application form, fill in your details and lodge it yourself with the authorities once your settlement is complete.

Q. Is there anything else I need to know?

A. You’ll need to prove you’re eligible for the grant by supplying some supporting paperwork, including the contract of sale, contract to build (if you’re constructing a new home), and proof of your identity.

And finally, to make sure that you have the right information specifically for first home buyers in your state visit your state government’s website. Here’s a head start on current grants, state by state:

The First Home Owner Grant – state of play 20162

NSW

First home buyers can currently receive $10,000. This is only for those looking to buy a new home or who are building their own, with a maximum home value of $750,000.

ACT

First home buyers can currently receive $10,000, but this is only on offer for new or ‘substantially renovated’ properties worth $750,000 and under.

NT

Previously, first home buyers here were eligible for up to $26,000 towards their first purchase. However, from the start of 2015, this has been made available only to those looking to buy or build a new home.

QLD

First home buyers may receive $15,000 to go towards the purchase of their new home if it’s valued at less than $750,000. However if you’re buying an established property you’re no longer eligible.

SA

South Australians may receive $15,000 if they are looking to buy or build a new home.

TAS

The First Home Owner Grant for Tasmanians is $10,000 for new and off-the-plan properties only.

VIC

A payment of $10,000 is available to Victorians looking to buy a new first home, as long as the property’s value doesn’t exceed $750,000.

WA

First time buyers looking to invest in a new home or build their own are eligible for $10,000. If your property is south of the 26th parallel of south latitude, its value is limited to $750,000. Properties north of the 26th parallel are limited to $1 million.

To make sure you have the most accurate information for first home buyers in your state, visit this website.

Ready to buy your first home?

If you're buying your first home, you'll want to gather as much information as possible. Have a look at our expertise section for help on buying your first home. If you're ready to make a loan application or get pre-approval, see the range of home loan options available to you or call our experienced home loan specialists on 13 62 27.

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Unless stated otherwise, this information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502 and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you. All applications are subject to Macquarie's standard credit approval criteria.