What concessions are available for first home buyers in Australia?

By Katy Holliday

Buying a home is an exciting time, but it’s best to do your research first and find out how the government can help you to achieve your dreams quicker. There are a range of different options available, from the first home owners grant (FHOG) to stamp duty exemption.

The FHOG is a one-off payment federally funded and governed by each state to help those buying their first home enter the property market. We’re going to give you a state-to-state run down on all you need to know, covering grant amounts, concessions and first home owners grant eligibility.

Read more: 10 steps to buying a house in Australia

First home buyer grants in NSW

first home buyers grants in NSW

If you’re in New South Wales, there is a First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) scheme which will contribute $10,000 to assist first home buyers with the purchase of a new home or the build.

For the purchase of existing new homes, the First Home Owner Grant Cap is $600,000. Whereas, for a contract for construction of a new build you cannot exceed $750,000 in value to be eligible to receive the grant.  

The NSW Government, under the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, has abolished transfer duty (stamp duty) on all new and existing homes valued up to $650,000. It also covers vacant land you intend to build your first home on, valued up to $350,000. Transfer duty concessions are available for homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000. Vacant land purchased for between $350,000 and $450,000 will also receive concessions.

Insurance duty on lenders’ mortgage insurance has been scrapped which makes buying your first home even more achievable for those in the premier state.   

First home buyer grants in VIC

If you meet eligibility requirements, the grant amount in Victoria is $10,000 for applicants buying or building a new home valued up to $750,000. If you’re in a regional area, you’re in luck - there is an additional $10,000 available to you, making the total FHOG $20,000.

Stamp duty exemptions apply to those buying a property valued $600,000 and under, while concessions are available for properties valued between $600,001 and $750,000.

First home buyer grants in QLD

From the 1st of July, 2018, The Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant drops from $20,000 to $15,000. The $15,000 grant is applicable to new homes and builds valued up to $750,000.

Stamp duty concessions are available in Queensland for homes valued under $550,000 and for vacant land under $400,000. The concession amount available to you decreases as the value of the property increases.

First home buyer grants in TAS

The FHOG in Tasmania is $10,000 for those purchasing a new home, with an additional $10,000 available to applicants meeting a stricter criteria. The extra $10,000 finishes in June 30, 2019.

Currently, Tasmania does not offer stamp duty concessions or exemptions, but from 01 July 2019, there will be a 50% stamp duty reduction applied to established and new properties as well as vacant land, up to the value of $400,000 with a maximum savings of $7,000 in stamp duty costs.

First home buyer grants in SA

The SA FHOG is $15,000 for an eligible first home buyer. New homes and builds cannot exceed $575,000 in order to qualify for the grant.

There is no stamp duty concession or exemption for first home buyers.

First home buyer grants in NT

In the Northern Territory there is plenty of incentive to buy or build a new home, with a FHOG of $26,000 with no property value cap.

There is also a First Home Owner Discount (FHOD) scheme which is essentially a discounted stamp duty tax for those purchasing an established home. Under the program, a full exemption applies to house valued up to $500,000, which is a savings of up to $23,928.60. There is a partial discount for established homes valued between $500,001 and $650,000.

The NT Government is very encouraging towards first home owners. They also offer:

First home buyer grants in WA

The grant is for $10,000 in WA for those buying or building a new home. For properties north of the 26th parallel line the cap amount to qualify is $1,000,000. For properties south of the 26th parallel line the cap is $750,000.  

If you are eligible for the FHOG, you may be entitled to the First Home Owner Rate of Duty which provides exemptions and concessions. For homes purchased under $430,000 you will be exempt from transfer duty. For homes purchased between $430,001 and $530,000 there is a concession payable at a rate of $19.19  for every $100 above $430,001.

Vacant land is exempt from transfer duty if it is valued $300,000 or less. Vacant land purchased between $300,001 and $400,0000 has a concession payable at a rate of $13.01 for every $100 above $300,000.

Fine print: How do you qualify?

State-by-state there are variations on eligibility for the FHOG. However, the general rules are:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • At least one applicant must be an Australian Citizen or permanent resident.
  • Applicant must be a first home buyer, not buying as a trust or company.
  • Neither you nor your spouse/partner have previously owned an interest in an Australian property or lived in a property you owned prior to 1 July 2000.
  • Neither you nor your spouse/partner has received the grant before.
  • Applicants must occupy the home as their principal place of residence within 12 months of the eligible transaction of the home and for a minimum continuous period of occupancy of at least six months.

Next steps…

It’s no easy task buying your first home and saving for a hefty deposit. In some cases, you can use your FHOG towards your deposit. A mortgage broker should be able to talk you through the process. Your lender can also help you with the application.

Read more: Hidden costs of buying a house


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