First Home Owner Grant Explained

Since its introduction in July 2000, the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) has seen its fair share of adjustments, from a value increase, to the exclusion of individuals buying established homes. Let’s take a state-by-state look at how eligibility is determined and how a broker’s assistance can streamline your application process.

As a first home buyer, on top of applying for a FHOG, you’re facing a whole new world of responsibilities, which is why it is worth seeking the services of an accredited broker. “Using a broker will get you more bang for your buck”, says Loan Market Finance Specialist, Jenni Chittick. “It’s part of the service of a good broker to guide first home buyers. They’ll get a more holistic approach.”

For the most part, the eligibility criteria remain the same throughout all states and territories. The exceptions being things such as the value of the grant, its threshold, and the amount of time a buyer is expected to live in the property as a primary place of residence. The following are standard requirements.

  • You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Over eighteen years of age when making the application
  • Not awarded the grant by another state or territory
  • Purchase the home as a natural person (not a company or trust)
  • Never held a relevant interest in any residential property in Australia prior to 1 July 2000

As of October 2015, first home buyers purchasing established homes are no longer eligible for the grant. “The abolishment of existing homes doesn’t mean the first home buyer market has fallen as many people say,” advises the finance broker. “There are still people out there buying their first home, they’re just not utilising the grant as they are no longer eligible.”

Here is a breakdown of each state’s eligibility criteria.

New South Wales
The First Home Owner Grant (New Scheme) is valued up to $10,000 with a $750,000 property cap on transactions made on and after the 1 January 2016. Within twelve months of settlement, the purchaser must live in the home as a principal place of residence for a continuous six months

From 1 July 2017, the First Home Owner Grant Cap for new home purchases is $600,000; for a property where you enter into a contract to build, or are an owner builder the total value cannot exceed $750,000

Western Australia
The only difference first home buyers in the west will find from those in New South Wales is the property cap limit. Those wanting to purchase south of the 26th parallel (the town of Kalbarri) will have to stick to a $750,000 cap, whereas those north of the 26th parallel (the town of Denham) have a $1,000,000 cap to play with.

After the 1 January 2016, Tasmanians would have seen their FHOG decrease from $20,000 to $10,000, making it on par with New South Wales and Western Australia.

Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory
Just like New South Wales and Western Australia, those within Victoria and our nation’s capital are eligible for a $10,000 grant with a $750,000 cap. However, they need to reside in their property for twelve consecutive months, within twelve months of settlement.

Queensland and South AustraliaFirst home buyers in both these states are required to live in the purchased property for six months, within twelve months of settlement. The grant in these states is valued at up to $15,000. Queenslanders, where it’s called the Great Start Grant, have a cap of $750,000 and those down south are limited to a $575,000 property value.

Northern Territory
Our northernmost first home buyers enjoy the FHOG of the highest value in the country, at $26,000. The property cap is set at $600,000 and they must reside in it for six continuous months.

Regardless of which state you reside in, the eligibility criteria must be met and no amount of work from a broker will change that. However, if you find that you do satisfy the requirements and are looking to apply, speak to an MFAA broker, who can help you secure the hugely helpful grant.