First-home owner grants: a state-by-state guide

First-home owner grants: a state-by-state guide
First-home owner grants: a state-by-state guide

The decision by the ACT government to withdraw the $7,000 first-home owner grant on August 31 and replace it with a $12,500 grant for new homes only from September 1, means six states and territories have shifted their incentives in favour of what Ray White boss Brian White says is effectively a “builders’ grant”.

NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia. Tasmania and the ACT have all withdrawn (or will withdraw in the coming months) their handouts for first-home buyers who buy an established home.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia's (REIA) campaign for these states and territories to honour the “uniform” nature of the original InterGovernmental Agreement struck in 2000 that “an eligible home will be new or established” is unlikely to succeed.

For first-home buyers, these are the grant handouts available in their state and territory markets currently as well as what’s about to change in the coming months:

(Click on the state names for links to the relevant state revenue office pages).

NSW

The NSW state government offers a $15,000 grant for first-home owners who purchase or build a new home valued at up to $650,000. The grant was available until December 31, 2013, reducing to $10,000 from January 1, 2014, but the 2013 State Budget extended the availability of the $15,000 until January 2016.

Victoria

The Victorian government offers a $7,000 first-home owner grant for both new and existing homes until from June 30. The grant is available if the price of the property or construction of the home does not exceed $750,000. From July 1 a new $10,000 grant for newly constructed homes under $750,000 begins.

Queensland

The Queensland government offers a $15,000 great start grant for first-home buyers buying or building a new home valued under $750,000.

Western Australia

The WA government offers the $7,000 first-home owner grant for both existing homes and new homes. A cap limits the total value of properties (i.e. total value of home and land) to $750,000 or less, or if the home is located north of the 26th parallel to $1,000,000 or less.

South Australia

The South Australian government offers a FHOG of $15,000 for new homes. It also offers a maximum Housing Construction Grant (HCG) of $8,500  to all home buyers (FHBs and non-FHBs) who are purchasing or building a new home with a market value of under $400 000. Above $400,000 to a maximum of $445,000 the grant decreases in increments of $5,000.

For first home buyers buying an existing home there is a First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) of $5,000.

The Housing Construction Grant expires on June 30 2013. The $5,000 FHOG grant for existing homes expires on June 30 2014.

ACT

The ACT government offers a $7,000 grant to first home buyers buying both existing and new homes capped at the total value of home and land of $750,000 or less. This expires on August 31. From September 1 first-home buyers in the ACT will receive $12,500 if they buy or build a new home or buy one that has been substantially renovated.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian government currently offers a one-off FHOG payment of up to $7,000. The grant is not means tested and there is no cap on the value an eligible home.

There is also a First Home Builder Boost (FHBB), a payment, in addition to the FHOG, of up to $8 000. It is available for eligible applicants, purchasing a newly built home or who are owner-builders between 1 January 2013 and 30 June 2014 and who meet the required time frames for commencement and completion of the house.

Both these grants will end on June 30, 2014.

From July 1 2014, Tasmanian first-home buyers who build or buy a new home (including off-the-plan) will be entitled to a $7,000 FHOG.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory offers a first-home owner grant for both new and established homes that remains ongoing.

FHOG is not means tested however, from 1 January 2010 eligibility ceases to apply if the consideration for, or the value of the home is more than the transaction eligibility threshold (see table below). This includes the unencumbered value of the land on which a home is to be built. The amount of the transaction eligibility threshold is determined based on the commencement date of the eligible transaction.

The commencement date of an eligible transaction is:

for a contract to purchase or construct a home, the date when the contract is made; or

for an owner builder, the date the laying of the foundations commenced.

Commencement date of eligible transaction?

Transaction eligibility threshold?

On or after 4 December 2012?

$600 000?

From 1 January 2010 - 3 December 2012?

$750 000?

Prior to 1 January 2010?

No threshold applied?

The amount of the grant increased on 4 December 2012 in relation to eligible transactions that commenced on or after that date. From that date, the amount of the grant also varies depending on the type of transaction and location of the property.

If the commencement date of the eligible transaction is on or after 4 December 2012, the amount of the grant is the lesser of the consideration actually paid for the eligible transaction, or:

a) $12 000 if the home is an established home in the urban area;

b) otherwise - $25 000

If the commencement date of the eligible transaction is before 4 December 2012, the amount of the grant is the lesser of the following:

a) the amount of consideration actually paid for the eligible transaction;

b) $7000

An established home is one that has been previously sold or occupied, and is lawfully fit for occupation.

An urban area means all land located wholly within the boundaries of:

  • the Darwin, Palmerston or Litchfield municipalities;
  • Wagait Shire;
  • the Darwin Waterfront Precinct;
  • the “prescribed area” for the Darwin Rates Act.
  • any other area prescribed by regulation.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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