Our guide to the grants, schemes and concessions available to first home buyers
Like most things to do with the government, when it comes to buying your first home, there’s plenty of reading to do, forms to fill in, and fine print to leave to your lawyer. It doesn’t help that the grants and schemes available to first home buyers come with impossibly dull acronyms: FHOG and FHLDS in particular come to mind. Regardless, it’s worth knowing what options you have and what help is available. Here are the four primary schemes available if you’re in the market to buy your first home – you can use as many as you qualify for.
1. First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)
The most self-explanatory of the schemes, this is a $10,000 grant for first home owners in the Geelong region that can be used to either build a new home or buy an existing home and land package that’s five years old or newer. True to its name, the FHOG is only available if you have never owned property and you and your spouse haven’t already received the FHOG. Your property must be valued at $750,000 or less, and you must live in it as your principal residence for the first year after purchase or construction. If you are eligible for the FHOG, you can then also apply to reduce the amount of land transfer and stamp duty that you pay.
How to apply
- Contact an approved lender to begin the application process
- Approved lenders are listed at https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/approvedagents
2. First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS)
Each year, 10,000 first home buyers are given the chance to purchase a home with as little as 5% down and no Lenders Mortgage Insurance. The same income threshold as the HomeBuilder Grant applies, though applicants must deposit up to 20% of the property’s total value. Like the FHOG and HomeBuilder Grant, applicants must intend to live in the property, and in Geelong, the maximum property value is $600,000.
How to apply
- Contact a participating lender to begin the application process
- Participating lenders are listed on the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme website www.nhfic.gov.au
3. First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS)
Perhaps the most complex of the government grants, this scheme allows you to save money for your first home inside your super fund by making voluntary pre- or post-tax contributions, up to a maximum of $15,000 in a single year ($30,000 across all years). You then obtain permission to release these contributions under the scheme. Like the other grants, you must then live in the property for at least six months. Eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
How to apply
- Apply to the Australian Taxation Office for a FHSS determination and a release https://www.ato.gov.au/
Remember, when it comes to your first home, the government is here to help, and you can use as many grants as you qualify for. Start investigating your options and take advantage of the grants and schemes available when building your first home.