Your guide to the First Home Owner Grant in SA

Your guide to the First Home Owner Grant in SA

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.

What is 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:

How much is the First Home Owner Grant SA?

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.

The FHOG is a one-off, lump sum payment made to a first home buyer whether they are buying the property as an individual, couple or co-partner. Therefore, one payment is made per property. Consequently, if there are multiple applicants for the one property, then the payment is split amongst the applicants. If you are deemed eligible, there are no limitations around what the FHOG can be spent 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.


Can you get the First Home Owner Grant with established homes in SA?

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.

When is the First Home Owner Grant SA ending?

While the First Home Owner Grant for established homes ceased 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, to ensure you’re aware of any recent changes.

What is First Home Owner Grant SA eligibility?

In order to claim the First Home Owner Grant in SA, you must meet the eligibility requirements. These include:

  • All parties must be over the age of 18 at the time of application
  • You must be a ‘natural person’ – meaning an individual, not a trust or company
  • At least one of the applicants must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. New Zealanders with special category visas may also be eligible
  • Neither you nor your spouse can have previously owned a residential property anywhere in Australia before 1 July 2000
  • Neither you nor your spouse can have previously owned a residential property and lived in it for more than 6 months after 1 July 2000
  • Neither you nor your spouse can have previously received a FHOG in any state or territory, unless they subsequently repaid it
  • You must live in the home as your primary place of residence for at least six months, within 12 months of the settlement or construction of the home
  • The market value of the home must not exceed $575,000. This includes the value of the land, if you are building your home.  Farms are also eligible. However, the value of a farm property is based on the dwelling and a standard residential block or curtilage area surrounding the home. If the dwelling is still to be built and is on a farm, then a building site measurement and curtilage area will be valued.
  • The property must be new. For the purposes of the scheme, the SA government defines ‘new’ as: a home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence and includes substantially renovated home or ex-display homes

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.

How to apply for the First Home Owner Grant SA

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 an list of approved agents.

first home owner grant sa

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:

  • Fill in all sections on the application form
  • Supply the correct account information for the grant payment
  • Include a copy of the Contract of Sale and a copy of your building contract
  • Have proof of lodgement of title registration with the Lands Titles Office.
  • Provide all necessary documentation for each application. This may include:
  1. Australian birth certificate or citizenship certificate
  2. Australian drivers licence, passport or proof of age ID card
  3. Medicare card
  4. Motor vehicle registration
  5. Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
  6. Utility bills for proof of identity and address (ie. electricity, gas, water)
  7. Rates notice
  8. Building or contents insurance policy
  9. Lease agreement
  10. Electoral enrolment card
  11. Taxation assessment notice
  12. Mortgage papers for the property you’re claiming the FHOG for
  13. Marriage certificate, if applicable

How long does the First Home Owner Grant SA take to process?

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The amount of time your grant takes to be processed depends on how you are applying.

New or off-the-plan homes

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.

Contract to build

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)

Owner builder

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.

New grants available due to Coronavirus

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 brokerscan 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.

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