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Owning your own home. It’s the great Australian dream and something that most people strive for – but when is the right time to buy?

With the world in the midst of a global pandemic and unemployment rates rising, you would be forgiven for thinking that right now is the worst time to buy, but for first home buyers there are various grants and schemes that could make buying a house easier and more affordable than ever.

Let’s cover the basics first:

  • Most incentives require buyers to live in the property for at least 12 months
  • Buyers whose partner has previously purchased a home are normally excluded
  • There are maximum price thresholds and eligibility criteria to meet
  • These schemes are subject to change
  • Schemes and eligibility criteria vary from state to state

Obviously, these grants, discounts and schemes will not be appropriate for every first home buyer – but it’s important to know what’s available and what you could be eligible for before looking for your first home.

We’ve made things simple for you with our Stamp Duty calculator, but we’ll also outlined the various schemes below.

NSW First Home Buyers

The Sydney property market continues to boom, however, with numerous first home buyer grants and incentives available, all hope is not lost. With these schemes, you may want to consider looking at purchasing in new areas or areas where house prices are lower.

  • Stamp Duty Axed (as of Monday July 27th) for first home buyers purchasing newly built homes valued at under $800,000 from August 1st. This scheme will only last for a period of 12 months.
  • Stamp Duty Concessions available for first home buyers purchasing new homes under $1 million in value (up from the previous limit of $800,000).
  • Stamp Duty Threshold Increased for Vacant Land with the stamp duty threshold rising from $350,000 to $400,000 and will phase out at $500,000.
  • $10,000 Grant for New Properties valued at under $600,000 and owner-builder/building contracts worth under $750,000.

Victorian First Home Buyers

  • No Stamp Duty on property under $600,000.
  • Discounted Stamp Duty on property between $600,000-$750,000.
  • $10,000 Grant for New Properties valued at under $750,000.
  • $20,000 Grant For New Regional Properties valued at under $750,000.

Queensland First Home Buyers

  • No Stamp Duty on property under $500,000 or vacant land under $250,000.
  • Discounted Stamp Duty On Properties under or equal to $549,999, or vacant land under or equal to $399,999.
  • $15,000 Grant For New Properties valued at under $750,000.

ACT First Home Buyers

From 1 July 2019, all eligible home buyers in the ACT will pay no duty. All properties in the ACT are eligible for this scheme.

Unlike the previous concession scheme, this now applies to vacant residential land and both new and established homes anywhere in the ACT and at any price. Although the concession is not restricted to first home buyers, all buyers including their partners (if any) must not have owned any other property in the last two years.

To be eligible for this duty concession, buyers must satisfy an income test which is detailed here. The combined total income of all applicants and their domestic partner/s over the 1 year period prior to the date of the grant, transfer or agreement for transfer (whichever is first) must be less than or equal to the relevant income threshold.

The ACT also offers a Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme (PDCS) to assist eligible pensioners who own a residential home to move to accommodation more suited to their needs (for example, downsizing to a townhouse) by reducing the duty payable on their purchase of a residential home or residential vacant land. This scheme is detailed here.

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) in the ACT no longer exists.

South Australian First Home Buyers

  • All first-home buyers pay some stamp duty.
  • Off-The-Plan Stamp Duty Concession available of up to $21,330 on properties under $500,000.
  • Varying Stamp Duty Amount Available to first home buyers on new-built or established properties.
  • $15,000 grant for properties under $575,000.

Western Australian First Home Buyers

  • No Stamp Duty on properties under $430,000 or vacant land under $300,000.
  • Discounted Stamp Duty on property between $430,000-$530,000 or vacant land valued between $300,000-$400,000.
  • $10,000 for new and for new and substantially renovated properties. The cap on the total value of the home and land varies depending on where the home is located.
    • South of the 26th parallel – value of land and building is up to $750,000. All Perth metropolitan areas are south of the 26th parallel.

      North of the 26th parallel – value of land and building is up to $1,000,000.

Tasmanian First Home Buyers

  • 50 percent concession on property transfer duty for first home buyers of established homes with a property value of $400,000 or lower.
  • $20,000 Grant for new properties of any value.

Northern Territory First Home Buyers

  • No Stamp Duty On Property under $500,000.
  • Discounted Stamp Duty On Properties between $500,000-$650,000.
  • Household Goods Grant of up to $2000 available.
  • $10,000 Grant For New Properties of any value, subject to eligibility (reduced from $26,000 on 7 May 2019)

Federal Grants Available

In addition to state grants and incentives, the federal government has also implemented a number of schemes that first home buyers can take advantage of.

  • The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS),supports first home buyers in purchasing their first home by allowing eligible buyers to purchase a home with a deposit with as little as a 5% deposit (generally first home buyers with less than a 20% deposit will need to pay lenders mortgage insurance). There are currently 27 participating lenders who are participating in this scheme.
  • The HomeBuilder scheme, providing a $25,000 grant to eligible owner-occupiers “substantially renovating” or building a new home between 4 June to 31 December 2020.
  • The First Home Super Saver Scheme, which allows first home buyers to make up to $30,000 in voluntary contributions to their superannuation to save for a home, with a limit of $15,000 per financial year.

    These voluntary contributions are taxed at a lower rate compared to income, allowing first-home buyers to save money faster. Applicants are also entitled to access any earnings on their extra contributions.

Thinking about purchasing your first home?

This is a process that can be daunting – but we’re here to help.

Sanford Finance will guide you through the process, giving you access to a wide range of lenders that will suit your particular requirements whilst also finding out what grants you could be eligible for.

We work for you, not the banks and will ensure you get the best possible deal on your first home loan. Get in touch with us today to get things started.

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