• By Melanie Monico16 April 2012

    Government Assistance for First Home Buyers

    RAMS presents… a state-by-state breakdown to the government assistance currently available to first-home buyers FHB blog post

    Buying your first home can be a daunting experience, but the federal and state governments alike are united in their desire to see Australia remain a nation of homeowners. That’s why there are a number of initiatives in place and financial assistance available to first-home buyers.

    Here, RAMS gives you the lowdown on what’s what….

    The First Home Owner’s Grant ($7000)

    The First Home Owner’s Grant (FHOG) was established in 2000. A commonwealth initiative funded and managed by the states, it is intended to help eligible first-home buyers with the cost of buying or building a home in Australia. The $7000 grant isn’t means tested, but there are caps placed on the value of home that can affect eligibility.

    Those caps are set by the individual states, which in some cases also have extra assistance available to first-home buyers. The full details are as follows…

    New South Wales

    The New South Wales Government has first-home benefits of up to $24,990 available. This includes the $7000 FHOG, plus a duty exemption of up to $17,990 under the First Home - New Home scheme.

    In NSW, first-home buyers/builders can receive the FHOG on homes where the total value does not exceed $835,000.

    In addition, the First Home - New Home scheme ‘provides eligible purchasers with exemptions on transfer duty on homes valued up to $500,000 and concessions on duty for homes valued between $500,000 and $600,000.

    ‘Eligible purchasers buying a vacant block of residential land to build their home on will pay no duty on vacant land valued up to $300,000, and will receive concessions on duty for vacant land valued between $300,000 and $450,000.

    ‘With mortgages, an advance made to natural persons for the purpose of buying or building their home, or buying vacant residential land, is not liable to duty. This applies irrespective of the amount of the advance.’

    To be eligible for this scheme, you must meet certain criteria, 

    Victoria

    The Victorian Government has set the FHOG eligibility cap for buying or building a first home at $750,000.

    In addition, first-home buyers may be entitled to a number of duty exemptions or concessions. These include:

    First home owner with family exemption or concession;
    Pensioner exemption or concession;
    Duty concession for principal place of residence.

    Queensland

    Like Victoria, the Queensland Government has set the FHOG eligibility cap for buying or building a first home at $750,000. To receive it, certain eligibility requirements must be met. There are also duty concessions available for eligible first-home buyers.

    Western Australia

    In WA, the government has set the FHOG eligibility cap at $750,000, or $1 million if buying or building a first home north of the 26th parallel (a circle of latitude 26° south of the equator). Cap details in WA can be found here. A concessional rate of transfer duty also applies to eligible first-home buyers. Details can be found here.

    South Australia

    In South Australia, the FHOG eligibility cap is for homes with a property value that does not exceed $575,000. A First Home Bonus Grant offering an additional $8000 is available until 30 June, 2012. From 1 July, 2012, the amount will be reduced to $4000, before being abolished on 1 July, 2013. This is available for properties with a market value of less than $450,000. Certain state taxes and levies apply in South Australia. 

    Tasmania

    In Tasmania, there is no cap on the value of a home for eligible first-home buyers or builders. However, there are no additional duty concessions or exemptions available in this state.

    Northern Territory

    The Northern Territory Government has set the FHOG eligibility cap for buying or building a first home at $750,000. There is also a stamp duty First Home Owner  Concession available for eligible first-home buyers or builders. This amount is currently up to $26,730 and the purchase price must not exceed $750,000 (for a home) or $385,000 (for land only).

    In addition, the HOMESTART NTscheme exists in the Northern Territory to help people from low and middle incomes purchase their first home.

    Australian Capital Territory

    In the ACTthe FHOG eligibility cap has been set at $750,000. A Home Buyer Concession Scheme is also in place ‘to assist persons in purchasing a residential home or residential vacant land by charging duty at a concessional rate’. Note, though, that this scheme is due to expire on 30 June, 2012.