Both Federal and State governments in Australia have recently introduced new policies aimed at addressing the increasing problem of housing affordability and easing the way for first home buyers to enter the housing market. Most of these changes, including the new first home super saver scheme, changes to the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) in some States and increased stamp duty concessions, came into effect on July 1 2017 and are available to first home owners now.
So, here’s a round-up of what new measures first home owners around the country can take advantage of to make the leap towards buying their own home.
National first home super saver scheme
In the Federal Budget 2017, the Federal Government announced that first home buyers will be able to make voluntary contributions into their superannuation fund of up to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total over two years, to be withdrawn specifically for a deposit on a first home, under a new first home super saver scheme. The new scheme is intended to enable first home buyers to build savings faster for a home deposit by utilising the tax advantages of superannuation.
Some other key points were:
- Contributions must be made within your existing contribution caps.
- The total concessional contributions you can make, from both compulsory employer contributions and any extra contributions you make, must not exceed $25,000 during the 2017/18 financial year.
- From July 1, 2018, you will be able to withdraw these contributions and any interest accrued for use as a first home deposit. This withdrawal will be taxed at your marginal tax rate, less a 30% tax offset.
- Both members of a couple are able to join this scheme in order to save for the deposit on the purchase of a first home together.
- To take advantage of this measure, you simply need to speak with your superannuation fund and your employer and set it all in motion as soon as possible.
New South Wales
The First Home Owners Grant of $10,000 is available for:
- building a new home where the contract price, added to the land value, does not exceed $750,000
- a new home built by an owner builder where the value of land and building combined does not exceed $750,000 or
- the purchase of a newly built home up to a value of $600,000.
First home buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty for both new and existing homes on properties valued up to $650,000. A reduction to stamp duty is available for homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000.
In Victoria, a $10,000 First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) is available when you buy or build your first new home. Your home can be a house, townhouse or apartment. It must be valued at $750,000 or less and be the first time the property has been sold. It must be your own principal place of residence, not an investment property or a holiday house.
To encourage first home buyers to move to regional areas, the FHOG has been increased from $10,000 to $20,000 for new homes built in regional Victoria and valued up to $750,000.
There is also an exemption from land transfer duty (also known as stamp duty) for first-home buyers who buy a home with a value of $600,000 or less. First-home buyers buying a home valued from $600,001 to $750,000 pay a reduced rate of duty, calculated on a sliding scale.
With the Queensland First Home Owners Grant, depending on the date of your contract, you’ll get $15,000 or $20,000 towards buying or building a new house, apartment or townhouse valued at less than $750,000. You can even buy off the plan or build yourself.
Stamp duty concessions apply for first home buyers on properties valued below $550,000.
For new homes, transactions entered into between January 1 and June 30, 2017 may be eligible to receive a $5,000 boost plus the $10,000 grant. The grant is no longer available for the purchase of established homes. However, purchasers of established homes will still be able to apply for the first home owner rate of stamp duty if the value of the home is below the current threshold of $530,000.
For first home buyers of both new and established properties, there is a full exemption on stamp duty up to $430,000 and a sliding scale from $431,000 to $530,000.
A First Home Buyer Grant of $15,000 is available to first home buyers in South Australia on new builds only, up to a value of $575,000.
In South Australia, there are also stamp duty concessions of up to $21,330 for the purchase of off-the-plan apartments in some areas.
The Tasmanian Government has extended the $20,000 First Home Owners Grant for another year, from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, for new homes only.
For eligible home purchases entered into from July 1, 2018 onwards the grant amount will reduce to $10,000.
In the Northern Territory, first home buyers may be eligible for a $26,000 grant if purchasing or building a new home, plus up to $2,000 for the purchase of household goods.
First home buyers purchasing an established home may be eligible for up to $23,928.60 in stamp duty relief.
Australian Capital Territory
The FHOG has undergone a number of recent changes in the ACT. The FHOG now applies to home buyers looking to buy new and substantially renovated properties only.
As of January 1, 2017, the FHOG is $7,000, with a limit on the value of the property (home plus land) of $750,000.
Stamp duty concessions are available for first time buyers for new homes, with a full exemption on properties up to $455,000, followed by a sliding scale on properties valued up to $585,000.
For more details on the First Home Owners Grant in your state or territory, please visit First Home.
Of course, taking advantage of the first home owners’ grant and other concessions is just the beginning of your home ownership journey. When you apply for a home loan, speak to your mortgage broker about taking out an ALI Loan Protection Plan to help cover your mortgage repayments in the event of involuntary unemployment, serious illness or injury, and death. You’ve worked long and hard to buy your first home; an ALI Loan Protection Plan gives you the peace of mind to enjoy it to the full.
You can find more information on FHOG relevant to your state here: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
Loan Protection Plan is jointly issued by Hannover Life Re of Australasia Ltd ABN 37 062 395 484 (Death, Terminal Illness, Living and Accidental Injury Benefits) and QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited ABN 78 003 191 035 AFSL 239545 (Involuntary Unemployment Benefit). It is distributed by Australian Life Insurance Distribution Pty Ltd ABN 31 103 157 811 AFSG 226403 (ALI). ALI receives commission for each policy sold. Any advice provided is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement when deciding if this product is appropriate for you.