There hasn’t been a better time to buy your first home in years. With record-low interest rates and a range of new grants on offer, there’s a startling amount of opportunities on offer. Some news sites are going so far as to say that this a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for buyers. Some developers are saying that buyers will be eligible for nearly $70,000 in grants – but is this all real? And how much can you actually qualify for?
We’ve broken down everything you’re entitled to, state by state, so you can make sure you make the most of all of the schemes, grants and subsidies that are being offered.
As of June 2020, there are a couple of grants that first home buyers can qualify for, depending on the state you live in. There are a couple that anyone across the country can access, however:
The number of grants and subsidies you qualify for depends on the state you’re buying in, as some have a number of offers for FHBs while others only have one or two. It’s worth noting that most states have some form of stamp duty exemption for first home buyers as well.
If you live in Queensland you can claim up to $40,000 if you include the new HomeBuilder scheme. Residents of the state were already entitled to a $15,000 grant towards buying or building their first house, apartment or townhouse (valued at less than $750,000). When you add on the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, that’s a cool $40,000 you can put towards your first home.
Queenslanders also don’t have to pay transfer/stamp duty on homes costing less than $500,000, and get a discounted rate up to $550,000. This is a saving of almost $16,000 on a home under $500,000.
If you’re living in Western Australia, you’re in a great position to buy your first home. On top of the already existing $10,000 FHB grant and the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, the Western Australian government recently announced a whole new grant for FHBs. The state government has announced that they will grant buyers a bonus $20,000 for new residential builds, if you have qualified for (and are taking) the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant.
This new grant will be available to home builders once construction has started. This means it is only available after the concrete slab had been laid (for example), or when the couple was the owner of the property (in the case of townhouses).
This takes the total amount of money on offer to $55,000, before you include any additional cash you have saved and stamp duty concessions.
Victorians can claim up to $45,000 in grants as a first home buyer. The amount of money they are able to access depends on where they are looking to buy.
Victorians already had a $10,000 grant available for new first homes, and $20,000 for new homes built in regional areas, valued at $750,000 or less. They also don’t pay stamp duty on property under $600,000, with discounted stamp duty applying on property between $600,000 to $750,000 (that’s a saving of up to $31,070 for a home worth $600,000, in case you were wondering).
First-home buyers building or buying a property in regional Victoria can claim $45,000, while those buying closer into Melbourne will receive $35,000, once you factor in the HomeBuilder grant.
All up, New South Welshmen can access up to $35,000 in grants, once the new HomeBuilder grant is included. NSW first-home buyers are able to access a $10,000 grant for new properties costing less than $600,000, and owner-builder/building contracts worth more than $700,000. If you’re buying land to build a new home, it’s important to note that the total cost of the land and the house must be no more than $750,000.
There is also no stamp duty payable on property under $650,000, or vacant land under $350,000, while properties between $650,000 to $800,000, or vacant land between $350,000 to $450,000 get discounted stamp duty. That’s a saving of up to $24,740 on a $650,000 home.
Tasmanian first home buyers are eligible for a $20,000 grant from their state government. This is applied to any new property, regardless of value, so if you have your sights set on something a bit more expensive Tasmania might be the place to buy. It’s worth noting that the state government in Tasmania recently announced that any owner-occupier signing a building contract this year will qualify for the $20,000 usually reserved for only first home buyers.
Properties worth less than $400,000 also qualify for a 50% stamp duty discount.
In total, Tasmanians can access $45,000 in grants, not including the stamp duty concession (which can be worth up to nearly $7,000).
Unfortunately, FHBs in the ACT have almost no other “money” offers available to them. While they can still qualify for the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, first home buyers are only eligible for stamp duty concessions. These concessions apply to all new and established homes, as well as vacant land, at any price, as long as they buyer earns less than $160,000.
There are a couple of different grants available in the Northern Territory. First home buyers can receive $10,000 just for buying their first home, along with a BuildBonus grant of $20,000 if they are buying or building a new home. All home owners are eligible for BuildBonus, so it is limited to the first 600 applicants.
There is also a discount on stamp duty that could get first-home buyers up to $18,601 off the cost of stamp duty, as well as a scheme that gives them up to $2,000 towards the cost of household goods. If you’re buying an established property as your first home, residents can also qualify for up to $10,000 under the Home Renovation grant. This grant is only available for the home renovation of an established home, and owner-builders/do-it-yourself renovators don’t qualify.
Not including the stamp duty exemptions or the household goods grant, first-home buyers in the NT could get up to $55,000 in cash incentives once the new HomeBuilder grant is factored in.
If your dream home is valued at less than $575,000, first home buyers in South Australia can qualify for a $15,000 grant. Combined with HomeBuilder, residents will be able to access $40,000 to spend on their first home.
All first-home buyers pay some stamp duty in South Australia, although there is an off-the-plan stamp duty concession available of up to $21,330 on properties under $500,000.
Some developers are offering rebates, grants and schemes to help get first home buyers over the line at the moment. These can come in many forms — furniture packages are quite common — and they often help cover the little (but expensive) parts of moving into your first home. Keep an eye out for these at projects that are complete (where the developer is looking to sell the last few lots/apartments ASAP) or at large, multi-stage estates. Simply asking can be enough in some cases for the developer to grant some sort of rebate or small monetary gift (although don’t be afraid to play hardball if you want to!).
If you’re still not sure where to begin looking, head on over to our First Home Buyers section. Here, you can get into contact with one of our suburb experts who can help you in your search and explain what’s on offer. The best part? It’s free.
Just based off the average amount of money available — roughly $40,000 if you average what is available across all of the states and territories — these grants will be a massive help for first home buyers. Look at it this way: most first home buyers will buy homes worth $500,000 or less. If you bought, say, a home worth $400,000, then the $40,000 you qualify for can cover 10% of your purchase price. Once you factor in any other money you have saved, plus any money you might choose to pull out of your super through the Early Access Scheme, you could easily have a full deposit ready to go. This is before you even consider other schemes which reduce the size of the deposit you have to put down, like the First Home Owner scheme.
It’s important to note that the big four banks are not keen to let people use just the HomeBuilder grant as a deposit. With this in mind, it’s probably wise to use some of the money you have squirreled away to reassure the banks that you’re the best option to go with (Queensland alone has already had 4,240 registrations of interest at the time of writing). Another benefit of having a bigger deposit is that you’ll have smaller mortgage repayments going forward. It might be wise in the long run to make use the record-low interest rates and lock in smaller repayments now.
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