First Home Owner Grant: What You Need to Know

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Are you a first-time home buyer that’s finding the First Home Owner Grant all very confusing? You’re not alone. We’ve answered the most important questions you’re probably asking yourself about the grant, to help make life a little easier while you search for your new home:

The First Home Owner Grant was introduced in 2000 as a way to offset the effects of GST on home ownership for people who are purchasing their first home. It is a national scheme which is funded by the individual states and territories and administered under their own legislation.

Are you eligible for the First Home Owner Grant?

To qualify for a First Home Owner Grant in the ACT or NSW you must meet the following criteria:

  • Each applicant is a natural person and not a company or trust.
  • At least one applicant is a permanent resident or Australian citizen.
  • Each applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
  • All applicants and/or their spouse/de facto have not owned a residential property, jointly, separately or with another person, in any State or Territory of Australia before July 2000.
  • All applicants and/or their spouse/de facto have not previously owned a residential property jointly, separately or with another person in any State or Territory of Australia, and occupied that property for a continuous period of at least six months.
  • This is the first time an applicant and/or their spouse/de facto will receive a grant under the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 in any State or Territory (unless subsequently repaid).

What makes a property eligible?

The First Home Owner Grant applies to new or substantially renovated properties with a value of less than $750,000. A new or substantially renovated property is:

  • a home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or
  • a substantially renovated home that, as renovated, has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or
  • a property which is subject to an “off the plan” purchase agreement.

The home must not have been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence. For a renovation to be considered as ‘substantial’, they must have affected most of the rooms in the building.

Further requirements to be met:

New home: The home must be complete and ready for occupation at the time of the application for the grant.

Off the plan purchase: The land must be intended for the site of a new home and must be built before completion of the agreement.

Vacant land purchase: Foundations of the property must be layed within 26 weeks of completion of the purchase, however there is no limit on the time of construction. Agreement or transfer of vacant land must be for the whole of the land. If the land is a parcel of land where two or more homes are to be built, the agreement or transfer must be for that part of the land which has exclusive occupancy.

Once all these criteria are met, the owner must live in the new home for at least 6 months. If you move out before 6 months the grant must be repaid.

How much is the grant?

ACT: As announced in the 2015-16 budget, the FHOG was reduced to $7,000 tax free for grants on or after January 1st 2017.

NSW: The FHOG in NSW offers a $10,000 tax free grant for homes that meet all criteria.

Are stamp duty concessions available?

Yes, in the ACT for properties under $468,000 you can expect to only pay $20, and for properties up to $590,000 you’ll be paying $14.70 for each $100 over $468,000.

For amounts in NSW, click here.

Does your income affect your eligibility for the grant?

No, the grant is not affected by your income, however it does affect your concessional duty amounts.

 

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