How To Use the First Home Owner Grant
To help first home buyers fulfil the dream of one day owning their own homes, Australia introduced the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) to ease the costs associated with buying real estate.
Each state has its own criteria, rules, guidelines, and amounts, with some states focusing their funding on certain types of property. To find out about the First Home Owner Grant read our articles on your state or territory.
Some states also have a stamp duty concession on top of the FHOG, saving first home buyers more money. Again see what your state allows by reading our state and territory first home owner guides.
The First Home Owners Grant is free funding – so understanding if you are eligible can really pay off.
Why use the grant?
Whether it’s the rise in cost of living or difficulty budgeting for today’s soaring house prices, the costs associated with purchasing your first home can add up to a significant amount.
Thankfully, The First Home Owners Grant can help you get a foot on the property ladder sooner. The grant is free funding; not a short-term loan that you have to pay back to the government. Some states offer grants of up to $15,000, which will be of considerable help when saving for your home deposit.
Funding is usually paid to you once your property has reached settlement, so it’s a good idea to consider how you will use it before you lodge your application.
Recently, a number of state governments have shifted their focus from the grant to the purchase or construction of brand new homes. This may influence your purchasing decision, so do your research early.
How much can I get?
At the time of writing, every state and territory in Australia offers some form of grant for first home buyers. The grant amount varies between states and territories. Some states, such as NSW, may also waive stamp duty up to some property price limits. To find out exactly how much you can get in your state, check your state’s revenue office website.
Who is eligible for the First Home Owners Grant?
The grant differs from state to state, but basic eligibility criteria remain the same across the country and apply to both you and your spouse or partner entering the property agreement.
To satisfy eligibility for the FOHG:
- You must be a first time buyer in Australia. This applies to both you and your partner or spouse entering the agreement.
- You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- You must not have claimed this grant previously.
- You must be over age 18 at the time of the property’s settlement.
- The home that you use the funds to purchase must be a fixed dwelling that is lawfully considered to be used as a place of residence. This includes:
- A new or established house
- Unit or apartment
- Terraced home
- Any other type of self-contained dwelling
You will not be eligible to apply for the grant if:
- You have previously applied for and received a FHOG in other states
- You owned a home or other residential property before 1 July 2000
- You have lived in a residential property you owned from 1 July 2000
Applying for the First Home Owners Grant
Applications can be made through most financial lenders, however, they must be a First Home Owners Grant Approved Agent. Alternatively, applications can be made through your state’s Office of State Revenue.
At least one applicant must use the purchase as a place of residence continuously for at least six months. This must begin within 12 months of the property’s settlement or construction.
There is usually a capped amount of properties you can apply for. Naturally, this can fluctuate substantially across the country, depending on each state’s housing market.
You must support your application with proof of identity and the contract of sale for the property. For more information on the FHOG in the state you’re looking to buy in, head to the federal government portal.
Can I use the FHOG as a deposit?
If you are applying for a FHOG through an accredited lender and are in the process of purchasing a home, you may use the grant as a deposit. If you apply on your own, however, you may not be able to use the grant as a deposit since you have already applied for a loan and settled on the property.
Will my income affect my FHOG eligibility?
The FHOG is not means-tested, so your income will not affect your application or approval – as long as you meet all the eligibility requirements.
Are there other schemes that can help me? Guide to First Home Super Saver (FHSS)
To further assist first home buyers, the government offers the First Home Super Saver scheme. The scheme allows you to use some of your eligible voluntary super contributions to help buy your first home. You may also apply under the FHSS Financial Hardship Provision.
One of the biggest FHSS benefits is that you may be able to save for a deposit for your first home faster. First home buyers utilising the scheme can withdraw $15,000 deposited in any one financial year, up to a total of $50,000 per person. You can also save on tax since you're paying the lower super tax of 15% instead of your usual income tax (which can be as high as 45%). You can use the scheme to buy any residential property in Australia. You’re also allowed to build a new home from your FHSS.
If you want to apply for the FHSS, you can request a FHSS Determination from the ATO by accessing your myGov and linked ATO account> Super> Manage Super> First Home Saver.
DISCLAIMER - The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent business, legal and financial advice which we strongly recommend. Whilst the information is considered true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided. LJ Hooker will not accept responsibility or liability for any reliance on the blog information, including but not limited to, the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or links.