Kathryn Lee - 11 Apr, 2019
With South Australia’s real estate market currently going from strength to strength, there’s never been a better time to get on the property ladder. And the good news is, if you’re thinking of buying your first home in SA, you don’t have to do it alone. The South Australian government has a First Home Owner Grant to make it more affordable for you to purchase a residential property.
The First Home Owner Grant was introduced nationwide in July 2000 by the Howard Government. Originally designed to offset the newly introduced the GST (goods and services tax), the scheme reduces the financial burden on Australians buying their first home. Each state and territory has its own FHOG, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the requirements and regulations in your state before you apply. Read on for your in-depth guide to everything you need to know about the First Home Owner Grant SA.
You may be thinking “Wait, is there a First Home Buyers Grant in SA, too?” They’re actually one and the same.
When it was first introduced, the FHOG was called the First Home Buyer Grant and was worth up to $7,000 with it originally applying to new homes being built and established property. Since then, the terms of the grant has changed 10 times, in response to the changing national budget and real estate prices.
You can look at these changes below:
The FHOG is currently $15,000 in South Australia for eligible home buyers purchasing a new residential property. This applies to any fixed dwelling suitable for residence, including a house, apartment, unit, townhouse or vacant lot that you intend to build a home on.
If you are purchasing a new or substantially renovated apartment and entered into the agreement before 30 June 2018, you may also be eligible for the off-the-plan (OTP) Stamp Duty Concession. This gives you a partial discount on stamp duty for new or substantially renovated apartments apartments valued up to $500,000.
Unfortunately, the First Home Owner Grant for established homes ended on 30 June 2014. If you are thinking of purchasing an existing home in South Australia, you will not be eligible for the FHOG.
In order to claim the First Home Owner Grant in SA, you must meet the eligibility requirements. These include:
For more information on grant eligibility, please visit the First Home Owner Grant Eligibility Checklist provided by Revenue SA. This checklist is easy to use and helps you to avoid any confusion.
If your circumstances change after you’ve received the grant or you fail and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria or you fail to move into the property within one year, you will be required to pay back the grant. If not, you may be taken to court or face penalties.
There are two ways to apply for the First Home Owners Grant in South Australia. If you are not applying for a home loan, you can apply directly yourself through the Revenue SA website. However, many do-it-yourself applications are rejected due to form inaccuracies. In order to avoid issues and speed up the process, it’s best to apply through an approved agent. This can be your bank, lending institution, mortgage broker or solicitor. They will be able to submit the application on your behalf, and do this at the same time as your home loan.
Revenue SA has a list of approved agents.
Whether you are applying directly or through an approved agent, there are a few things you should do to help ensure your application is successful:
The amount of time your grant takes to be processed depends on how you are applying.
If you are applying through an approved agent, you will receive payment at the date of settlement.
If you are applying directly, you will receive payment within five days after the approval of the application, provided you have provided proof of lodgement for registration with the Lands Title Office.
If you are applying through an approved agent, you will receive payment on the date of the first progress payment (from your agent)
If you are applying directly, you will receive payment within five days after approval, following proof of foundation being laid (you must provide a copy of the first progress invoice)
If you are applying through an approved agent, you will receive payment when appropriate supporting evidence is provided to your payment
If you are applying directly, you will receive payment within five days of RevenueSA approving the application lodged with sufficient supporting evidence.
Until December 31 this year, first home buyers may be eligible for the HomeBuilder scheme. The HomeBuilder stimulus package was introduced as COVID-19 recovery initiative and could see first home buyers receive up to $25,000 for new home builds. This incentive that is being provided by the federal government means that first home buyers in SA could receive up to $40,000 in grants if they receive the $15,000 first home owners grant from the SA state government.
However, the grants do not come free as there are a range of eligibility requirements. The scheme is restricted to owner-occupiers who are making ‘substantial renovations’ on their home. In order to qualify, you must have already spent at least $150,000 on renovations and you must be enlisting the help of builders during this process. There is also a means test, so if you’re a couple who earns more than $200,000 a year or an individual that earns more than $150,000 a year- then you will not be eligible. You can read more about the scheme here.
If you’re not buying a home in South Australia, then you may be eligible for the First Home Buyer Grant in another state. Just remember that all states have different rulings, so you need to read the legislation before applying for the FHOG.
Are you looking to buy your first home in South Australia? Get in touch with eChoice. Our brokers can help you understand the First Home Owners Grant SA 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.