The national guide to first home buyer grants

The national guide to first home buyer grants
The national guide to first home buyer grants

Across the country, numerous changes have been made to first home owner grants and whether you are eligible. Similarly, looking to move to a different state can change the amount of the grant you can achieve by thousands of dollars.

Other upcoming date changes can also have an impact.

Looking at the grants, several common eligibility factors remain in place. Usually, a spouse or de facto who already owns property stops you from being able to achieve the grant. Similarly, any ownership of your own can have an impact (note, however, that some states and territories allow previous ownership of investment properties in certain years). Residency is also usually required, for at least one of the de facto couple.

You will also be required to live in the property for a period of time within 12 months of completion - this is usually six months, however the trend has been to increase this to 12 months of continuous owner occupation.

You need to fill the form out in a timely manner, and be clear on whether the respective government uses settlement date or contract date as the important figure. If you're buying around a grant change, this becomes even more crucial.

Those who fail to fulfill these requirements can see themselves fined, along with being required to refund the grant.

Here are the grants current accessible by first time buyers, as per information available from the respective Office of State Revenues and Treasuries.

Australian Capital Territory

First home buyers in the ACT can net themselves $12,500 after a grant increase from 1 September 2013. However, you will need to be buying a "new" or "substantially renovated" property worth $750,000 or less.

Those buying established properties have no available grant.

Those who want to get the FHOG will also need to stay in the property for 12 months upon completion of the dwelling - this is an increase from the previous six months.

For clarity, it's noted that new or substantially renovated properties include:

  • A home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or

  • A substantially renovated home that, as renovated, has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or

  • A property which is subject to an "off the plan" purchase agreement.

You have a period from exchange of contract to one year after either settlement or date of issue of the Certificate of Occupancy in which to claim the grant.

Owner builders can only lodge after the home has been completed.

Payment of the grant is usually then made within 10 days of lodgement.

First home owners who fulfil the requirements for the grant may also have the opportunity to defer their stamp duty.

New South Wales

First home buyers in New South Wales can currently net a $15,000 grant - however this will be reduced to $10,000 as of 1 January 2016. This grant is only available to those who buy a new home or build their home. The property's value must not exceed $650,000.

Their clarification of what falls under this bracket includes the following:

  • A home that has not been previously occupied, including occupation by the builder, a tenant or other occupant;

  • A home that has not been previously sold as a residence. Where the home is being purchased, it must be the first sale of that home;

  • A home that has been substantially renovated and a home built to replace demolished premises.

To access the grant, applications need to be lodged within 12 months of completion of settlement.

You must live in the property for a continuous six months within the 12 month completion date.

Duty exemptions are available for new properties, commencing from 1 January 2012, for properties valued up to $550,000 and concessions for those from $550,000 to $650,000.

Those buying vacant land will pay no duty on vacant land valued up to $350,000, and concessions from $350,000 to $450,000.

To be eligible, you must not have owned and occupied (for more than six months) a home in Australia after 1 July 2000, and you cannot have owned a property before this time.

Article continues on next page. Please click below.


Northern Territory

First home buyers in the Northern Territory can see themselves given an extra $26,000, with established first time buyers not left out of the picture either.

From 1 January 2015, the First Home Owners Grant, however, will be redirected solely to first home buyers looking to buy or build a new home.

Currently, as of 13 May 2014, there exists a transaction eligibility threshold (in plain English, this essentially means that the property can only be worth up to a certain amount) for established properties only. Prior to this time, both were given a limit.

An established home is concerned one that has been "previously sold or occupied, and is lawfully fit for occupation."

A new home is considered one that has never previously been lived in or sold as a place of residence.

However: "To prevent anomalies, a discretion applies in limited circumstances to declare a home that has been previously sold, but not occupied, to be a new home."

It's slightly more complex for our first timers up north, however - the current eligibility threshold for established properties sits at $600,000.

From 13 May 2014 to 31 December 2014, a new home can bring in $26,000. Meanwhile, an established property in an urban area will be provided $12,000, and everywhere else will be given $25,000. The only material difference in grant money compared to 4 December 2012 - 12 May 2014 is an extra $1,000 for new homes (and threshold changes).

Urban areas basically means land that sits within the Darwin, Palmerston or Litchfield municipalities. It also covers Wagait Shire, the Darwin Waterfront Precinct, the "prescribed area" for the Darwin Rates Act and other areas potentially proscribed by regulation.

Since December 4, 2012, there has been no stamp duty concession for first timers.

Queensland

Queensland first time buyers, when purchasing new, can get themselves $15,000. Unfortunately, nothing remains for first time buyers who are purchasing established properties.

Their Great Start Grant was updated in 2012, previously being known as the First Home Owner Construction Grant and is available for all eligible transactions since 12 September 2012.

It is available for those buying new (or substantially renovated properties) or building a new home.

If you previously held any interest in residential property before 1 July 2000, even if it was an investment property, you're not eligible. Those who have had a property since - but used it solely for investment purposes and did not live in it - may be eligible. You'll need to give them tax return details, tenancy agreements and current electricity and phone accounts.

Grant applications are processed within 10 days of receiving the information.

Those looking to get the grant then must move into the property within one year of completion, and live there for six continuous months.

South Australia

South Australian first time buyers are currently eligible for a FHOG on both new homes and established homes - however, they will lose the ability to be given the grant on established properties from 30 June 2014.

The property value must not exceed $575,000.

For those buying a new home, since 1 January 2014 and until further announcements, $15,000 is achievable.

For those purchasing established homes, current $5,000 is attainable - dropping to $0 from 1 July.

If you previously held any interest in residential property before 1 July 2000, even if it was an investment property, you're not eligible. Those who have had a property since - but used it solely for investment purposes and did not live in it - may be eligible. You'll need to give them tax return details, tenancy agreements and current electricity and phone accounts.

After the property is built, you must then live in the property for six months commencing within 12 months of completion.

off-the-plan properties may also be eligible for a stamp duty concession for a new apartment or substantially refurbisged apartment. Thisis for properties from 31 May 2012 to 30 June 2014, capped at the stamp duty payable on a $500,000 apartment (or $21,330). A partial concession will apply from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016.

The concession does, however, apply to specific areas as outlined on the Revenue SA site and associated maps.

Article continues on next page. Please click below.


Tasmania

Currently, established and new properties can receive a benefit for first time buyers, with up to $30,000 available. As in many other states and territories, this is altering from 1 July 2014, and will see established home buyers lose the benefit. Established property buyers can currently get themselves $7,000.

For new properties, the First Home Builder Boost has increased since 7 November 2013 from $8,000 to $23,000, and applies until 31 December 2014. Those eligible for this would also be eligible for the $7,000 FHOG, bringing their total payment to $30,000.

To be eligible, you must not have owned and occupied (for more than six months) a home in Australia after 1 July 2000, and you cannot have owned a property before this time.

When you get the FHOG, you need to live in the property for a continuous six months within 12 months of the data that the certificate of occupancy is issued.

Victoria

Only new properties get first time buyers a grant in Victoria, as of 1 July 2013. A payment of $10,000 is available.

It is only available for properties that do not exceed $750,000 in value, apartment from properties on primary production land.

You must live in the property for 12 months continuously, within 12 months of settlement.

The reduction in duty is becoming increasingly attractive - initially, 20% was reduced on 1 July 2011, followed by 10% on 1 January 2013, 10% on 1 July 2013 and an upcoming 10% on 1 September 2014.

Western Australia

A grant is available for first time buyers of $10,000 for those purchasing or building a new home. This has been available since September 2013. Those looking to buy established may be able to net a $3,000 grant.

Eligible properties are to a limit of $750,000 , or $1,000,000 if located north of the 26th parallel. This cap was introduced in early-2010.

To be eligible, you must not have owned and occupied a home in Australia after 1 July 2000, and you cannot have owned a property and lived in it prior to 1 July 2004.

You must live in the property for a continuous six months within 12 months of completion.

An extra benefit for West Australian first timers is the Home Buyers Assistance Account, which can provide $2,000 in help. Essentially there for 'extra' fees around buying, such as solicitor fees and valuation fees, you must be buying a property for $400,000 or less. It must be an established or partially-built home.

You must live in the home for the first 12 months, purchase through a licensed real estate agent, have not owned property in Australia before and must have the loan financed through a lending institution. This $2,000 comes from interest paid on real estate agents' trust accounts.

First home owners also receive a discounted stamp duty rate. For properties with an established home, no duty is payable up to $500,000. After this bracket, $22.51 per $100 is payable. For vacant land, no duty is payable up to $300,000, and after this $13.01 per subsequent $100 is payable. For vacant land, you will need to pay this upfront and then retrieve a refund on receipt of the FHOG - once you have completed the build.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

Tags: 
National First Home Buyers

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?