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State-by-state guide for first home buyers

By Michael Walkden

THE STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS

In 2000, the First Home Owners Grant scheme was introduced to minimise the effect the GST would have on home ownership. While this is a national scheme, individual states and territories do have their own eligibility criteria.

This blog will help you gain a better understanding of how your state or territory’s First Home Owners Grant scheme could help you get into the property market.

New South Wales

First homeowners in New South Wales are eligible to apply for the $15,000 First Home Owners Grant if they are purchasing a new home or building a new home. The home must not have been occupied previously, the contract must be dated on or after 1st October 2012 and you need to live in the home continuously for a minimum of 6 months. However, the scheme is set to reduce to $10,000 on the 1st January 2016.

Queensland

Queensland’s First Home Owner Grant or ‘Great Start Grant’, as it’s now known, is valued at $15,000 that can be used towards buying or building a new home. Keep in mind the home must be valued at less than $750,000 and can also be purchased off the plan. Similar to New South Wales, to be eligible for the grant you must move into the home within one year of completion and live continuously in the property for six months.

Victoria

For contracts dated on or after 1 July 2013 in Victoria, buyers of a new home are eligible to claim up to $10,000. Similar to Queensland although the home value must not exceed $750,000. However, an exception to this does exist for homes built on primary production land.

Western Australia

The latest Western Australian budget announcement made clear the intention to abolish the Home Owners Grant of $3,000 for established properties. This will come into effect once the change to legislation is passed (which is imminent) and will apply to contracts entered into on or after that date.

However, the $10,000 First Home Owners Grant for new homes will remain unchanged.

Australian Capital Territory

For those in the ACT, the First Home Owner Grant was amended for property transactions made on or after 1 September 2013. The scheme now only accounts for ‘new or substantially renovated’ properties with the grant now worth $12,500 (it was $7,000 previously). On top of these changes, the residency requirement (time you must live in the property) has been increased from 6 months to 12 months.

South Australia

The South Australian Government also offers a First Home Owner Grant similar to fellow states of $15,000 for the purchase or construction of a new home. Again, like other states there are considerable eligibility criteria that must be met, including never having held an interest in a property previously, never receiving an equivalent government grant and also being an Australian citizen.

Tasmania

Tasmania is a little more tricky with their equivalent grant, the Home Builder Boost, being scheduled to finish at the end of June 2015. However, the Tasmanian Government has shown intention to continue the scheme for another six months to 31 December 2015 although this is not yet confirmed. The scheme is a $20,000 grant for builders of new homes or buyers of a newly constructed property.

Northern Territory

As of the 1st of January 2015, the Northern Territory’s First Home Owners Grant has also been limited to new homes. On top of this restriction, the scheme does state that home purchase price thresholds may apply. Those who do comply with the criteria are eligible to receive up to $26,000 for their build.

It’s important to note there is a raft of eligibility criteria for each state that will determine whether or not you qualify for any one of these grants. Chat to your local Ray White property specialist today for further information relating to your individual property market and any other government assistance you may be entitled to.

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