First Home Buyers Grant: Everything you need to know

First Home Buyers Grant: Everything you need to know

The First Home Buyers Grant is a government scheme introduced in 2000 as an effort to offset the Good and Services Tax (GST) paid upon the purchase of a house.

The grant is currently a lump-sum payment to first home buyers who buy or build a new home. Notorious for changing its terms every couple of years, previously the grant was available for established homes too. For these reasons, it’s important to keep up with the latest terms to check if they apply to your purchase.

The national scheme is administered separately by the states and territories, meaning different sums are available in different locations.

Unlike most other parts of the home-buying process, the grant isn’t means tested i.e. based on income, but rather a set sum per state.


Can the first home owners grant be used as a deposit?

Typically, the first home buyers grant is paid at settlement after a deposit has been made. For this reason, it is unlikely this lump sum could be put down in your deposit and you will need to foot the bill of the deposit yourself.

Can permanent residents get the first home owners grant?

Yes – permanent residents of Australia are eligible to receive a first home buyers grant, but it must be the first property you have purchased in Australia.

Am I eligible for the first home owners grant?

The national scheme is administered separately by the states and territories, consequently, the terms and conditions will vary across different locations.

Eligibility is subject to a number of factors including the value of your home and whether you intend to live in your home after construction.

Generally, to receive the grant:

  • you must be an individual, not a company or trust
  • you must be over 18
  • you, or at least one person you’re buying with, must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • you must be buying the property as an individual and not a company or trust
  • You plan on living in the residence for the minimum amount of time set by your state or territory
  • You must apply for the grant within 12 months of settlement
  • The market value of the home must not exceed the limit of your state or territory

Generally, you won’t be eligible for the grant if you or your spouse:

  • have previously owned or co-owned property in Australia or
  • have received an Australian first home owners grant

Your guide to the First Home Owner Grant in SA

Thinking about buying your first home in South Australia? You may be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant SA, which can save you up to $15,000. Here’s your in-depth guide.

New South Wales (NSW)

  • A grant of $10,000 will be given to first home owners buying a new home up to the value of $600,000, or building a new property worth up to $750,000.
  • If your new or established property is valued less than $650,000 your stamp duty will be waived. If your new or established property is between $650,000 to $800,000 you are eligible for a discount.
  • Buyers must live in the home for at least six months in the first year of construction.
  • For more information click here.

Queensland (QLD)

  • A grant of $15,000 will be given when you buy or build a new home valued up to $750,000.
  • Discounts on transfer duty (previously stamp duty) are also available for both new and established homes.
  • Buyers must live in the home for at least six months in the first year of construction.
  • For more information click here.

Victoria (VIC)

  • A grant of $10,000 will be given when you buy or build a new home worth up to $750,000.
  • Grants for property in regional Victoria rise up to $20,000 for homes worth up to $750,000.
  • New homes must be less than five years old
  • Buyers must live in the home for at least six months in the first year of construction.
  • For more information click here.

Tasmania (TAS)

  • A grant of $10,000 will be given to first time owners who buy or build a new home.
  • Buyers must live in the home for at least six months in the first year of the home being built.
  • For more information click here.

Northern Territory (NT)

  • First home buyers are eligible for a $10,000 grant if they buy a new home.
  • Stamp duty discounts of up to $23,928 may apply to eligible first home buyers of an established home, along with a $10,000 home renovation grant.
  • For more information click here.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • First home buyers who purchase a new or substantially renovated home are eligible for a $7,000 grant.
  • The ACT government requires you live in the property for 12 months to be eligible.
  • For more information click here.

South Australia (SA)

  • A grant of $15,000 will be given to homeowners who buy or build a new home in South Australia up to the value of $575,000.
  • For more information click here.

Western Australia (WA)

  • Grants of $10,000 are available for the purchase or construction of a new home.
  • Depending on where you live the cap is either $750,000 or $1 million.
  • If you are south of the 26th parallel of south latitude your property must be valued less than $750,000, while properties north are limited to $1 million.
  • Buyers must live in the home for at least six months in the first year of the home being built.
  • For more information click here.

How to apply for the first home owners grant

According to the scheme, the first home buyers grant is known for having applications incorrectly lodged on their first attempt. In fact, only one in five get it right the first time.

Here is the basic run-down on how to lodge the first home buyers grant application.

Step one: Check your eligibility

To save yourself time and reliance on the grant, check that you are first eligible for the grant. Details for each State or Territory are listed above. Generally, you will need to be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident and, be purchasing or building a new home. Of course, it must also be your first time buying.

Step two: Gather supporting evidence

If you are lodging with an approved agent, you and if applicable your spouse or partner must provide a copy of a valid form of identification. You must also provide evidence of citizenship or permanent residency.

If you are lodging on your own, you – and if applicable your spouse or partner must provide a valid copy of a document from each of the four categories. This works out to be four documents per person. It should be noted that a single document cannot be repeated (a common mistake). The four categories are:

  • Category one
    One current document proving identity, evidence of citizenship or permanent residency
    • If you are an Australian citizen you can provide:
      • Australian birth certificate
      • Australian passport, or
      • Citizenship certificate.
    • If you are a citizen of another country:
      • Passport, and evidence of permanent residency or permanent residence visa.
      • A New Zealand citizen: Current passport.
  • Category two
    Evidence of a link between identity and person such as a passport or driver license. The document must include your photo and signature.
  • Category three
    One document proving the applicant/s live in Australia.
  • Category four
    One document proving the applicant/s current address.

Additional supporting evidence is required if any of the following applies to you:

  • Married – a copy of your marriage certificate.
  • Divorced – a copy of your divorce certificate.
  • Widowed – a copy of the death certificate of your spouse/partner.
  • Separated – a statutory declaration

Step three: Complete the application

If you are lodging with an approved agent, they will take care of this step for you.

If you are lodging the application yourself, there are usually guides available to help you navigate applications as they are frequently lodged incorrectly.

When you find the application, print it out and answer with a blue or black pen. Remember to sign.

Step four: Lodge the application

If you are lodging your application through an approved agent, they will send the application on behalf of you.

If you are lodging the application yourself, find the appropriate address through your state or territory website. These can be found in the table above.

What can the first home owners grant be used for?

The first home buyers grant is rigid in its use. Once you are deemed eligible, it can basically only be used to contribute to your outstanding loan. This also makes it pretty hard to use for a deposit.

In fact, the grant is not actually paid to the buyers, rather when you get to the settlement period, the money is transferred to your lender and directly taken from your mortgage.

If you’re buying a house and land package, sometimes the grant is approved once you start the construction process.

first-home-buyers-grant-everything-you-need-to-know

When does the first home owners grant get paid?

The grant is typically paid at the time of settlement to your home lender so it can be directly deducted from your home loan. When building, the grant will be approved once your first mortgage repayment is due.

When does the first home owners grant end?

While the first home owners grant for established homes ended in 2014, there is currently no end date on the FHOG for new homes. However, always check the most up-to-date information before you apply as the grants have been subject to frequent change.

Can you get the first home owners grant twice?

No, the grant is a one-off payment to first home buyers.

Is the first home owners grant taxable?

No, you will not have to pay tax on your first home buyers grant.

How much is the first home owners grant?

A FHBG calculator can be used to determine the sum of your first home buyers grant based on your location and property.

What does the first home owners grant cover?

After eligibility is established, the grant is automatically deducted from your home loan. This ensures it directly pays a portion of your home loan.

Words by Michelle Elias

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Are you looking to buy your first home soon? Get in touch with  eChoiceOur brokers can help you understand the First Home Owners Grant in your state or territory and ensure your application goes smoothly. Plus, we have access to 100’s of mortgage products, so, we can help you find a competitive deal on your mortgage.

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