If you’re renting right now, there’s a good chance that your rental payments have been on an upward trajectory. You’re not alone. According to Domain’s quarterly rent report, we’re in the longest stretch of continuous rental price growth on record. House rents are at a record high across all capital cities, and the same goes for unit rents in all capital cities except Canberra and Darwin.1 And things are only expected to get worse.
The good news is there is a raft of Government schemes on offer to help first time buyers get a foot in the door. We cover some of them below:
First Home Super Saver Scheme
The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) is designed to help you save for your first home inside of super, by allowing you to withdraw your voluntary super contributions to put towards your deposit. These voluntary contributions can be made from before or after-tax money.
The scheme allows you to withdraw up to $15,000 in voluntary contributions from any one financial year, and up to a total of $50,000 contributions across all years, plus earnings related to those contributions.
Like all incentive schemes, there are a few caveats, including being aged 18 or over, not having held a property in Australia before, and not having previously withdrawn from your super under the FHSS scheme. You must also be a first home buyer with an intention to occupy the property for at least 6 months within the first 12 months you own it, or as soon as practical.
The Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS)
Administered by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), the HGS scheme includes several initiatives to help first home buyers, regional first home buyers and also single parents with at least one dependent child to buy a home, with a deposit as little as 2-5 per cent.
Loans through the scheme are partially guaranteed by the NHFIC, enabling eligible home buyers to purchase a home with a small deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance.
Government support in each state or territory
In the ACT, the Home buyer concession scheme (replacing the First Home Owner Grant) helps people who have not owned any other property within the last two years buy a home or residential land by reducing Duty on a property by up to $34,790. All vacant residential land, new and established homes are eligible for this scheme, anywhere in the ACT and at any price. However, to be eligible to pay no duty, your total gross income (combined for couples) over the full financial year before the transaction date must not exceed $170,000-$186,650, depending on how many dependent children you have.
The Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme (PDCS) helps pensioners who own a home to move to more suitable accommodation by reducing the duty payable. The new home must be valued at no more than $765,000 and the former home must be sold within one year.
The ACT also offers a Deferred Duty option that allows you to defer the payment of conveyance duty on the purchase of your home if you are eligible for the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG), the Home Buyer Concession Scheme (HBCS) or the Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme (PDCS), however the interest rate is high — 8 per cent in addition to the market interest rate applies.
New South Wales
As a first home buyer in NSW, you may be eligible for a stamp duty exemption, concession and / or grant. The First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme offers full or partial exemption on stamp duty on homes under $800,000.
If you’re buying or building a first home that is new or substantially renovated, the First Home Owners (New Homes) Grant offers $10,000 towards the purchase price for homes under $750,000. But possibly the most notable scheme is the First Home Buyer Choice which allows those eligible to choose to pay either stamp duty or a smaller annual property tax for properties with a value of up to $1.5 million.
In the Northern Territory, the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) offers eligible buyers a one-off payment of $10,000 to buy or build a new home. Through the HomeBuild Access scheme, the Government also offers access to low deposit home loan options for newly built homes or for the purchase of vacant land to build your own home. The purchase price must be under $550,000 for three or more bedrooms, or $475,000 for up to two bedrooms.
Queensland’s First Home Owner Grant gives eligible first-time home buyers $15,000 towards buying or building a new home valued less than $750,000 (including land). To qualify, you must be a first time home owner buying a residential property to live in, and meet a number of other criteria.
The Queensland government also offers concessions to reduce the amount of transfer duty you pay when you buy or acquire a residence or vacant land on which you intend to build your first home. Different concessions are available depending on whether you or your spouse are a first time property owner.
Under South Australia’s First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme, eligible first time home buyers could receive up to $15,000 if purchasing a new home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence with a market value of $575,000 or less. The scheme also includes substantially renovated homes.
As a first home buyer in Tasmania building or buying a new residence, you may be eligible for First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) of up to $30,000. If you’re buying an established home with a dutiable value of $600,000 or less, you may be eligible for a First Home Owner duty concession which offers a 50 per cent discount on property transfer duty.
In Victoria, the Victorian Homebuyer Fund helps those with a 5 per cent deposit get on the ladder. Under the scheme, the Victorian Government will contribute up to 25 per cent of the purchase price, in exchange for an equivalent share in the property. Doing this can mean a smaller mortgage and avoiding the payment of Lenders Mortgage Insurance.
Victoria has abolished stamp duty for first home buyers buying a home for $600,000 or less, with stamp duty increasing gradually as the cost of the home increases to $750,000. If you’re buying off the plan, you only pay stamp duty on the land the property is sitting on, as long as the property becomes your main home, or if you qualify for the first home buyer stamp duty concessions.
For first home owners in Western Australia, the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) offers a one-off payment of up to $10,000 to assist eligible first home buyers to buy or build a residential property as their principal place of residence. Homes that have been substantially renovated may be considered a new home. The Government also provides a Home Buyers Assistance Account grant of up to $2,000 for first home purchases through a licensed real estate agent with prices up to $400,000.
The above list is not a definitive list, and will also be subject to change, so it’s a good idea to check your State and Federal Government website to get the latest updates on what may be available to you.