First home owner grants – A comparison
Buying your first home may well be one of the biggest financial investments of your life. Therefore, it is more than worthwhile to be familiar with the entitlements and benefits that you may be eligible for. These entitlements include the First Home Owner Grants and the stamp duty exemptions.
Be aware that these benefits could save you up to $40,000 if you are living in certain states within Australia! In this article, we compare the First Home Owner Grant entitlements of the three biggest states: NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
First home buyer grants
So to begin, what is the First Home Owner Grant? The first home owner grant is a government initiative established to give financial assistance to eligible first home owners who are purchasing or building a new home. In this case, a new home is one that has not previously been occupied or sold as a place of residence OR it could be an existing home that has undergone substantial renovation. A substantial renovation is where all or substantially all of the building is removed or replaced.
In NSW, the current grant amount is $10,000. It is available for purchasers buying a house valued at up to $600,000 and for new-home builders carrying out construction projects valued at up to $750,000.
To be eligible, the applicant must firstly be an Australian citizen over 18 years of age. Secondly, the applicant and spouse/de facto partner must not have owned any residential property in Australia prior to 1 July 2000. Applicants/spouses who owned property after 1 July 2000 must not have resided there continuously for 6 months. Furthermore, the applicant must not have previously received this benefit.
Additionally, the NSW government has an initiative called the First Home Buyers Assistance scheme. Under this scheme, eligible first home buyers receive concessions and exemptions on transfer duty. This also includes vacant land on which you plan to build your first home. From July 2017, eligible purchasers buying either new or existing homes worth up to $650,000 are exempt from stamp duty whilst those buying homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000 are entitled to a concession.
In Queensland, the FHOG is worth $20,000 and applies only to property that does not exceed $750,000. Properties that are valued under $550,000 also attract stamp duty concessions. Again, the property needs to be new, substantially renovated or off-the-plan.
The Queensland Government has a guide defining substantial and non-substantial renovations with examples. For instance, it classifies the replacement/altering of foundations as substantial but not carpet replacement or painting.
To be eligible, the individual first must be an Australian citizen over 18 years of age. Furthermore, the individual and his/her spouse must not currently own a property or previously owned one prior to 1 July 2000. If the individual/spouse owned property since 1 July 2000, they may be eligible for the grant provided that the property was solely for investment purposes. Furthermore, there is a requirement for the purchaser to move into the property within 1 year and reside there for a minimum period of 6 months.
The Victorian First Home Owner Grant scheme is unique in that it differs for rural and urban properties. A grant of $10,000 is applicable to properties under $750,000 in the city. For rural properties, the grant increases to $20,000. This reflects the government initiative to expand housing in more remote areas of the state.
To be eligible, the applicant must be an Australian citizen above 18 years of age. Neither the applicant nor his/her spouse is to be currently owning property. If the applicant/spouse previously owned property after 1 July 2000, the grant would only still be applicable if the applicant/spouse have not have resided in it for more than 6 months continuous. Furthermore, there is a requirement that the applicant or his spouse reside in the new property for a minimum of 12 continuous months within 12 months of the transfer date.
There are also duty concessions and exemptions. The Queensland government grants exemptions for property valued below $600,000 and purchased after 1 July 2017. If the property is purchased before 1 July 2017 or if the value is between $600,000 and $750,000 a duty concession applies. Other concessions include pensioner concessions, off-the-plan concessions, principal place of residence concessions and even young farmer concessions/exemptions.
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