Chances are, you may have already heard about some of the available state and federal government support programmes aimed at helping more first home buyers get into their own home. With the prospect of homeownership becoming increasingly out of reach for more and more people, these programmes lend a vital helping hand to first home buyers to assist them in getting their foot in the property market.
Figuring out what programmes you can access will depend on factors such as the state you’re located in and the value of the home that you’re looking to buy or build. It can be difficult to wrap your head around the various programmes on offer, particularly as you may be able to access multiple incentives at both the state and federal level. For example, in Victoria, you may be able to access the State Government’s $10k Metro or $20k Regional First Home Owner Grant, as well as the Victorian stamp duty exemptions and concessions currently on offer. This could end up saving you thousands of dollars and provide you with the boost that you need to get into your own home.
How do I know what I can access?
As a first home buyer, it is crucial you understand what government assistance you can access early on. It is a big part of determining your budget for your first home. You may be able to access multiple schemes.
Here are the Federal Government buyer assistance programs available to first home buyers in all states:
The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme works by providing a guarantee that will allow eligible first home buyers on low and middle incomes to purchase a home with a deposit of as little as 5% and be exempt from lenders mortgage insurance – which can save buyers tens of thousands of dollars.
The First Home Super Saver Scheme allows you to save money for your first home inside your super fund. This will help first home buyers save faster with the concessional tax treatment of superannuation.
Each state has different first home buyer assistance programs. The current Victorian first home buyer schemes are:
The First Home Owner Grant, which is available for eligible first home buyers buying or building a new home valued up to $750k. First home buyers in regional Victoria can apply for a $20k grant, while metropolitan area buyers can apply for $10k.
Eligible first home buyers in Victoria may also qualify for a reduced land transfer duty payment (also known as stamp duty).
It is important to understand that you need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for each program and you will need to make applications for each scheme via an approved agent or directly to the relevant agency.
Making sense of all the information can be daunting, but our Start Point Home Ownership Experts can explain how it works in simple terms.
The current Victorian First Home Owner Grant is $10k for metropolitan area first home buyers, and $20k for regional area buyers. It can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar but it must be valued at $850k or less. The grant is a payment made to you after a successful application.
The basic criteria are:
Applicants must be 18 years of age at settlement or completion of construction
You (or at least one applicant) must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
You (or at least one applicant) must plan to occupy the purchased home as primary place of residence for at least 12 months
You must not have received a first home owner grant anywhere in Australia
You must not have owned a residential property anywhere in Australia (there is a potential exemption for those who have owned an investment property – but never lived in it)
You must not have lived in a residential property owned by yourself or your partner for a continuous period of six months
These criteria apply to both yourself and your partner, even if your partner is not an applicant with you.
When you buy a new home, you are required to pay land transfer duty (also known as stamp duty). How much you pay depends on your property’s value. Many first home buyers in Victoria are eligible for exemptions or concessions on this duty.
To access an exemption or concession:
All purchases and their partners must satisfy the eligibility criteria for the First Home Owner Grant
You must live in your property as the principal place of residence for 12 months
Unlike the First Home Owner Grant there is a reduction in the duty you pay, not a payment direct to you. The concession you receive is calculated on a sliding scale and the lower the value of the property, the higher the concession.
The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme allows first home buyers to purchase a home sooner. It does this by providing a guarantee that will allow eligible first home buyers on low and middle incomes to purchase a home with a deposit of as little as 5%. The guarantee is not a cash payment and property price thresholds apply in each state.
This scheme is available to single people earning up to $125k, while couples earning up to $200k will also be eligible. Buyers must have saved at least 5% of the value of the home. Applicants must not have owned a home in Australia (either alone or jointly), and the applicants must intend to be the owner-occupiers of the property.
The Federal Government has extended the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and allowed an extra 10,000 buyers to purchase a home with a minimum deposit of 5%. The scheme provides eligible first home buyers with a greater chance to enter the property market by guaranteeing up to 15% of the loan.
These additional places come as a great relief to many home buyers with less than a 20% deposit who were previously required to pay lenders mortgage insurance. Avoiding LMI can potentially save home buyers thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars.
Available to eligible buyers from October 6th for new or newly built homes the incentive will not only help more Australians enter the property market but also help boost the economy as it recovers from the effects of Covid-19.
The First Home Super Saver Scheme allows first home buyers to save their deposit inside their super fund. This means the savings receive the concessional tax treatment of superannuation.
First home buyers can make voluntary before tax and voluntary after-tax contributions to save for their first home. Buyers can facilitate this through salary sacrifice contributions if offered by their employer.
To be eligible you must be over 18 years of age and you must not have owned property in Australia. You must also intend to reside in the property for at least six months.
Before applicants start saving, they should check their nominated super fund will release the money under the scheme, and ask about any fees, charges and insurance implications that may apply.
First home buyers must apply for and receive a First Home Super Saver Scheme determination from the Australian Tax Office before they sign a contract for a home.
*Disclaimer: All information is taken from relevant Federal and State Government websites. Start Point and Simonds Homes do not determine the eligibility of customers for government buyer assistance programs. To qualify for government buyer assistance programs, customers must meet the eligibility requirements of the relevant agency and apply through an approved agent or the relevant agency.
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