Am I eligible for a first home owners grant?
Thursday, 12 November 2015 12:00 AM
With property prices on the rise across much of Australia, it's more important than ever to have a good understanding of the financial assistance you may be eligible to receive when building a new home. One example of such aid is the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG).
Introduced in July 2000, the scheme aimed to help buyers offset the goods and services tax (GST) associated with purchasing a new or established home. The exact amount you might receive can vary quite significantly depending on your location, and the specific rules and caveats change by jurisdiction. To find out if you're eligible for the FHOG, check out our state by state breakdown of the initiative:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
In ACT, the FHOG is only available for people who are purchasing a new home or a property that has been substantially renovated. This is great news if you're planning on designing and building a house, but if you're buying an established property - one that has previously been occupied - you won't be able to access the grant. In addition, only homes under the value of $750,000 are eligible for the FHOG.
How much might you receive? Until January 1 2016, you may be able to get up to $12,500. However, after this date the FHOG is being reduced to $10,000.
NSW's FHOG will be reduced to $10,000 in 2016.
New South Wales (NSW)
Similar to ACT, only people building or buying brand new homes or extensively renovated houses up to the value of $750,000 are eligible for the FHOG. You'll also need to live in the house for at least six months, so property investors looking for a quick turnaround won't be able unlock this particular grant.
In years gone by, you may have been able to receive up to $15,000, but from the start of 2016, this amount will be lowered to $10,000.
As of January 1 2015, you can only access the FHOG in Northern Territory if you're constructing or purchasing a new home. Where it differs from some other states is that there is no cap on the value of your prospective property. This provides you with the opportunity to explore more premium options when building your new home, knowing that you'll still be to obtain financial assistance.
It's also worth noting that Northern Territory's FHOG is considerably larger than other states', and you may be eligible for as much as $26,000 towards purchasing your house.
In Queensland, the FHOG is known as the Great Start Grant, and it provides buyers with up to $15,000 towards purchasing or constructing a new property.
If you're building a new home in South Australia, you may be able to access up to $15,000 under the FHOG if the value of the house is under $575,000. While this might sound like a relatively modest amount compared to other states, it's actually in line with South Australia's wider property market, with the median Metropolitan Adelaide home selling for $428,250 in the June 2015 quarter, according to figures collated by the state's government.
Until the end of 2015, people buying or constructing new homes in Tasmania may be eligible for the First Home Builder Boost (FHBB), which provides financial assistance to the tune of up to $20,000. However, similar to rules in other states, you'll need to live in the home for a continuous six months within a year after the property has been built.
The Tasmania government had planned to finish the $20,000 FHBB on June 31, but has since been extended to the end of 2015. In 2016 however, it's likely that the value of the grant will be reduced to be more in line with other states.
To be eligible for the FHOG in Victoria, you'll need to live in the house for a continuous 12 months.
When constructing a new house, townhouse or apartment unit in Victoria, you could receive up to $10,000 under the FHOG. Again, the value of the property must be less than $750,000, though the FHOG can be used in conjunction with other concessions such as pensioner grants.
The residence rules are a little more strict than in other states, and in order to access the grant, you'll need to live in the house for 12 continuous months, with occupation beginning within a year of construction being completed.
As of October 3 2015, people purchasing an established home in Western Australia will no longer be eligible for the FHOG. The good news is that if you're designing and building a new home up to the value of $530,000, you may still be able to receive a grant of up to $10,000.
You can get more insight into how the FHOG works in this YouTube Video from the Department of Finance Western Australia: