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EXTRA GOVERNMENT HELP FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS

The Australian Federal Government is giving new home buyers a significant boost with the announcement of the $25k HomeBuilder grant.

This new grant will see eligible home buyers paid $25k on top of any state-based schemes they qualify for. This includes the Victorian State Government’s $10k metro First Home Owner Grant and $20k regional grant, as well as the Victorian stamp duty exemptions and concessions currently on offer. This could save buyers tens of thousands of dollars.

The HomeBuilder grant is only available until the end of 2020, providing a unique opportunity for those who thought homeownership was out of reach.

Read on to get more details on all current government assistance packages or talk to our Start Point Home Ownership Experts about how to get started!

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 HomeBuilder Scheme which will see buyers paid a $25k grant on new homes valued under $750k.
  • 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.

Current Government Assistance Packages

Victorian Programs

First Home Owners Grant

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 $750k 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.

To further understand the full eligibility requirements for the Victorian First Home Owner Grant, visit: https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/first-home-owner#fhog

Duty Concessions

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.

To read more, visit https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/fhbduty

Federal Programs

The Federal Government’s first home buyer assistance programs are available to eligible buyers in all states.

HomeBuilder Scheme

The HomeBuilder initiative will see eligible home buyers receive a payment of $25k when they enter into a new home building contract or a home renovation contract by the end of 2020.

The criteria for this initiative includes:

  • You must be an ‘owner occupier’ — the grant does not apply for investment properties
  • The new home must be valued at less than $750k (including land)
  • Renovations must be valued at more than $150k and under $750K and the home must have been previously valued at under $1.5 million
  • Single buyers can have an income up to $125k
  • Couples must have a combined income of up to $200k
  • Construction works must commence within three months of the contract signing


The HomeBuilder payment is not only for first home buyers, but for all new homes and renovations that fit the criteria. The $25k payment can be combined with the relevant first home owner grants and concessions in each state. The grant will also be available to anyone accessing the Federal Government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme for a new home. The grant will be administered by each State and Territory revenue office and will be paid directly to the owner occupier by the office of revenue after the first progress payment is made.

For more information visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/homebuilder

The Federal First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

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.

First Home Super Saver Scheme

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.

SUPER

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.

For more information visit:

https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/first-home-super-saver-scheme/

We work with first home buyers every day and we know it can be hard to understand what government help you may be entitled to. Our Start Point Home Ownership Experts can help you make sense of it all.

*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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