New price caps unveiled in extension of the First Home Loan Low Deposit scheme

Jonathan ChancellorDecember 7, 2020

The extension of the First Home Loan Deposit scheme was confirmed in last night’s federal Budget with new property price caps.

The expanded scheme, initially announced on Saturday, will allow an extra 10,000 first-home buyers this financial year.

“This builds on the 20,000 first home buyers we are helping to purchase a home this year,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday night.

The scheme enables first-home buyers to get into the market with a deposit as low as 5 per cent, and avoiding lenders’ mortgage insurance, with the federal government acting as guarantor on the loans.
State/TerritoryCapital city/regional centreRest of state

Source: Housing Minister and Assistant Treasurer 

Initially Sydney first-home buyers wanting to buy needed to buy properties costing less than $700,000 with buyers in most of the rest of the state able to spend up to $450,000 to be eligible to buy under the scheme.

It was initially $600,000 for Melbourne buyers, $500,000 in the ACT and $475,000 for Brisbane buyers. 

But the Real Estate Institute of Australia president Adrian Kelly said the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme should be extended to all eligible buyers of all homes, not just new builds.

"Budget 2020 was an opportunity lost in helping more Australian's into their first homes," Kelly said.

HIA Managing Director Graham Wolfe said by increasing the number of people eligible for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme by 10,000, focusing on new home builds, and raising the price thresholds, that the Government had "opened the door to a larger group of first home buyers." 

“An increase in the number of people that can apply for a place in the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme if they buy or build a new home and the $1.2 billion injection into the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy are major cornerstones in supporting jobs across the residential building industry," Wolfe said.


The national estate agency Ray White welcomed the expanded First Home Loan Deposit Scheme indicating it would boost apartment sales along with detached housing.

“Unlike the established market, apartment sales have been difficult this year, so this is a very welcome boost for this sector,” Ray White group managing director Dan White said.

“It will give first home owners a much better opportunity to get into new property which often focuses on inner city areas at affordable prices, appealing to a younger demographic. 

"Importantly, it will rebuild developer confidence to commence construction of apartment projects.”

The UDIA national president Simon Basheer said the property industry "can and must play a central role" in powering the nation’s economic revival – generating jobs, wages and activity up and down supply chains.

“Housing and construction contribute 750,000 direct and indirect jobs to the nation, so it is well placed to fill the gap caused by border restrictions and slower population growth due to current immigration levels.

“UDIA applauds the decision to release a new tranche of 10,000 places under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme that are dedicated to new housing construction.

“The addition of these places – as well as the adjustment of price caps to better reflect median house prices across our capital cities – will give the industry a shot in the arm and boost employment.

“Importantly, the scheme can work in tandem with the HomeBuilder initiative, and we hope the Government keeps an open mind on its extension as well ahead of the end of the year.

“Research commissioned by UDIA shows the fall in net overseas migration will result in an average per annum reduction of approximately 50,000 homes per year for the next 5 years.

“Efforts to tap domestic demand and keep jobs flowing across the housing construction sector will be essential to maintaining economic momentum until net overseas migration returns to more sustainable levels," Basheer said.

The Urban Taskforce also welcomed the extended First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, but said more could be done while seeking an expansion of the HomeBuilder program too.

"Urban Taskforce re-iterates our call for changes to the HomeBuilder criteria," Urban Taskforce chief executive Tom Forrest said.

"Just as thresholds were adjusted state by state for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme to include different thresholds for capital cities and areas outside each capital, the same thresholds should be applied to HomeBuilder.

"Greater Sydney, including Newcastle, should have apply to a Homebuilder threshold purchase price of $950,000, and the timeframes should be extended by a further 18 months to make homebuilder relevant to apartments (which take longer to build)."

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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