First introduced to Australia in 2000, the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) has repeatedly changed. While nationally recognised, each territory and state fund their own FHOG. As a result, FHOG rule tweaking occurs yearly, depending on government budgets.
Since the introduction of the FHOG, a national scheme that makes home ownership more affordable, in 2000, state and territory governments have altered the scheme significantly. Funded and legislated by state and territory governments, the first home owners grant is a one-off payment for first-time home buyers. The amount available to first home buyers, the property types eligible and the capped home value limit varies depending on the state or territory of the home purchased, and on the home buyer’s eligibility.
When first introduced, the FHOG was available for new and established homes. Plus, its value was initially $7,000. There was also no income test or upper limit on the purchase price of a home.
After its introduction, the FHOG received a boost on two occasions – in 2008 and 2012. These boosts were in response to changing economic conditions and added thousands to the grant.
Today, rural home buyers can receive added funding, depending on their location. In addition, some states offer stamp duty reductions or exemptions. To find out if you’re eligible, please refer to the links at the bottom of this article.
State and territory governments usually announce their FHOG terms and conditions, and funding levels in their budget. Often, budget announcements occur annually, just after the end of the financial year, for the preceding year ahead. At this time, cap limits can change where home and land packages cannot exceed a specified dollar amount. Other changes typically include the amount of the grant and the dwelling type.
In 2017, Australian states and territories grants ranged between $7,000 and $26,000. Added home buying assistance is also available by way of stamp duty concessions, transfer duty reductions, senior’s concessions, and new home building boosts.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
|State / Territory||First Home Owners Grant||Other Programs|
|Australian Capital Territory||$7,000||Home Buyer Concession Scheme|
|New South Wales||$10,00||First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme|
|Northern Territory||$26,000||First Home Owner Discount & Home Renovation Grant|
|Queensland||$15,000||First Home Concession|
|South Australia||$15,000||Seniors Housing Grant & Apartment Stamp Duty Concession|
|Tasmania||$10,000||New Home FHOG|
|Victoria||$20,000||First Home Buyer Duty Exceptions|
|Western Australia||$10,000||First Home Owner Rate of Duty|
Furthermore, each state and territory have rules as to what buildings are FHOG eligible, and the timing of payment. Therefore, it’s important to check out their websites. But, as a rule of thumb, payment of the grant is under the following conditions:
- Established property for renovation – Payment is at the time of settlement.
- Building contract – Funded at the time of the first progress payment.
- Owner-builder – Disbursed on receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy.
- New home – Remunerated at settlement.
- Off-the-plan purchase – Paid at the time of settlement.
Some other important points to note about the first home owners grant are:
- The first home owners grant is tax-free.
- Means-testing of the grant is not applicable.
- Unless other arrangements apply, the lender typically receives grant payments.
FHOG applications typically process within 5-business days, to ensure that the loan process flows smoothly.
Depending on the territory or state of the home purchase, the FHOG conditions for eligibility will differ. Generally, the following rulings apply:
- You must be a first home buyer to apply.
- If you’re applying with a partner or spouse, then they must also be a first home buyer.
- You must have resided in Australia for more than 6-months.
- You cannot apply if you’ve owned property in Australia previously.
- An eligible home must be in Australia.
- Receiving the grant occurs only once.
- Only Australia citizens or permanent residents can apply.
- Natural people can apply, not a company or trust.
- Grant applicants must live in the home for at least six months after completion.
- Applicants must be 18-years-old and over.
- New builds or substantially renovated homes are eligible.
- Maximum property values, depending on the state or territory are between $450,000 and $835,000.
- Only one grant is payable per home regardless of the number of applicants.
If you find the grant confusing or need help to fill out an application, then contact your lender or mortgage broker. Often staff can help you understand the grant better and assist you in filling out the form, so it processes quickly.
According to the scheme, only 20% of applications lodged are correct the first time. So, to avoid issues make sure that you provide the correct supporting documents, sign the form, and send the form in as soon as possible.
Supporting application documents typically include:
- Proof of identity – Australian birth certificate, foreign passport, and Australian Visa, if born overseas, citizenship or permanent residency certificate or Visa, Australian Drivers License, firearms license, Medicare card, motor vehicle registration and debit/ credit financial institution card.
- Marital status – Marriage certificate, decree nisi (if divorced), partner death certificate (if widowed), and statutory declaration if separated.
- Transaction type – contract to buy property, certified copy of transfer, title search, certified copy of property valuation, current rate notice
Additionally, each territory and state government have a link to their FHOG, as listed below. However, you can also visit the Federal Government site to obtain more information.
|State / Territory||Website|
|Australian Capital Territory||revenue.act.gov.au|
|New South Wales||www.osr.nsw.gov.au|
Are you seeking to buy your first home? Then contact eChoice, our brokers can help you understand the FHOG and assist with your application. Plus, they have access to 100’s of mortgage products. So, we’ll find you a competitive mortgage.