The government is keeping the Great Australian Dream alive with First Home Owner Grants (FHOG), which remains one of the most popular initiatives to help home buyers break into the housing market.
What is the First Home Owner Grant?
Introduced in July 2000, the FHOG scheme is a nationwide initiative funded by the states and territories to help first homeowners with their property purchase.
The grant is a one-off payment for eligible homebuyers and is meant to offset the effect of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on purchasing or building a new home.
Each local government has its own set of rules concerning the eligibility criteria and the amount of the grant. Over the years since it has been implemented, however, rules surrounding the grant have changed, even down to the eligibility criteria each state uses.
First Home Owner Grant eligibility requirements
Eligibility criteria can vary between states and territories, though you will typically need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- At least one applicant is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be buying the home as an individual, not as a company or trust
- You must apply for the grant within 12 months after the settlement of your property purchase
- You must live in the property for at least 12 continuous months
You will not be entitled to apply for the grant if:
- You have previously received a FHOG in other states
- You owned a home or other residential property before 1 July 2000
- You have lived in a residential property you owned from 1 July 2000
- You have previously owned an interest in land in Australia which had a dwelling on it, before 1 July 2000
As a first time home buyer, it is important to know what type of first home buyer loans is the best for you.
How do you apply for the First Home Owner Grant?
There are two ways to apply for the grant: either by lodging the application yourself through your state or territory revenue office, or through an approved bank or lending institution.
The grant is usually paid to your lender at the time of settlement and applied directly to your home loan. If you are building a house, the grant will be approved when your first loan repayment is due.
If you are doing things by yourself, it is highly suggested that you apply for the grant as soon as you can after your settlement date. You must remember that in order for your purchase to qualify for the grant, an application must be made within one year of the completion of the transaction.
What supporting evidence do you need to provide?
The number of supporting documents you need depends on which method you would choose to apply for the grant. Supporting documents are classified into four categories. If you will be applying through an approved agent, then you and your partner would only need to submit a current primary identity document and evidence of citizenship, which is under Category 1.
However, if you are directly applying to your local revenue office, you need to submit one current document from each of the four categories.
In some cases, you might also need to provide additional supporting documents like marriage and divorce certificates.
Documentation requirements for the First Home Owner Grant:
A copy of current primary identity document and evidence of citizenship.
If you are an Australian citizen:
- Australian birth certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
- Australian passport
- Citizenship certificate
If you are a citizen of another country:
- Evidence of permanent residency or permanent residence visa
If you are a New Zealand Citizen:
- Current Passport
- Australian driver licence
- Firearm licence
- Proof of Age photo ID card
Evidence that each applicant and their spouse resides in Australia
- Medicare card
- Motor vehicle registration
- Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
Evidence of each applicant and their spouse’s current residential address
- Utility documents (e.g. bills for electricity, gas, water)
- Building or contents insurance policy
- Rate notice
- Mortgage papers for the property for which you are claiming the FHOG
- Electoral enrolment card
- Lease or tenancy agreement
- Work notice/reports/reference
- Taxation assessment notice
How much is the First Home Owner Grant by state?
At the time of writing, every state and territory in Australia offers some form of a FHOG. The grant amount varies between states and territories. When you apply for the grant, you can also enjoy additional benefits depending on the rules of your state or territory.
Some states may also waive or give discounts on stamp duty up to some property price limits. If you buy or build a house in regional areas, you may be eligible for a larger grant.
Here’s how much you could get from the grant and any eligibility criteria that may apply.
The NSW First Home Owner Grant was amended in 2017 to cap the grant at new home purchases worth $600,000 and new home buildings at $750,000. The grant is worth $10,000.
To apply for the New South Wales New Homes Scheme or to learn more, visit the NSW Government’s website.
In Metropolitan Victoria, first home buyers who are buying or building a new home may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant. In regional Victoria, first home buyers can qualify for a $20,000 grant.
In both instances, the grants are only available on properties valued at $750,000 or less.
Visit the State Revenue Office of Victoria for more information.
First Home Owner Grant QLD
If your contract is dated 1 July 2018 or later, eligible first home buyers can qualify for a $15,000 grant if they are buying or building a new house, unit or townhouse worth up to $750,000. Contracts dated earlier than 1 July 2018 may still be eligible for a grant.
Visit the Queensland Government for more information and how you can apply.
First Home Owner Grant SA
Eligible first home buyers in South Australia can qualify for a $15,000 grant if they are buying or building a new home with a market value of $575,000 or less.
Visit the South Australian Department of Revenue and Finance for more details and to apply.
First Home Owner Grant TAS
Eligible first home buyers in Tasmania are eligible for a $20,000 grant until 30 June 2022 if they are purchasing or building a new home. Unlike other states, there is no limit on the purchase price of the property.
Visit the State Revenue Office of Tasmania for more information.
First Home Owner Grant WA
Eligible first home buyers can receive a $10,000 grant towards buying or building a new home.
The maximum value of the property that can be purchased with the grant depends on the property’s location. For example, homes in the Perth metropolitan area (south of the 26th parallel) must not be valued at more than $750,000, while houses north of the 26th parallel can be valued at up to $1 million.
Visit the Western Australian Government’s Department of Finance site for more information on how to apply.
First Home Owner Grant NT
Eligible first home buyers can receive a $10,000 grant towards buying or building a new home.
Like Tasmania, there is no specified limit on the purchase price of the property. Visit nt.gov.au for more information.
Frequently asked questions
When will the grant be paid?
This matter falls under the respective guidelines of the states. Typically, if an applicant is purchasing an established or new home, the grant will be given at settlement. If you apply for the grant through your state revenue office, you will get the fund when your name is officially registered in the property title.
If your home is yet to be constructed, you will receive the grant when the foundations of the property have been laid. If you are an owner-builder, you are likely to get your grant when the construction of the home is completed.
Am I allowed to use the grant as a deposit?
If you are applying for a FHOG through an accredited agent and while in the process of purchasing a home, you could use the grant as a deposit. However, you would still need to shell out since the grant, in many cases, is not enough to cover the deposit. It is highly advisable that you talk to your mortgage broker to know more about using the grant as your deposit.
When you apply on your own, however, you may not be able to use the grant as a deposit as you would have already applied for a loan and settled on the property.
However, there is a First Home Loan Deposit Scheme that is set to help you gain approval for a mortgage with minimal downpayment.
Will my income affect the amount of the grant?
It is important to know that the FHOG is not means-tested. This means that your income would not affect your application for the grant. As long as you fit the eligibility requirements and your property is within the value cap, you can apply for the grant.
Can I apply for the grant if I inherit the property?
The purpose of the grant is to help first-home buyers finance their home purchase. If you inherit a property and you plan to apply for the grant, do not expect to get approved. You must be a buyer or builder to be able to avail of the grant.
If I have a property outside Australia, will I still be eligible for the grant?
You can be eligible for the grant provided you have not owned property in Australia before.
Would buying an existing home qualify me for the grant?
Each state has its specific rules surrounding the type of home that qualifies for the grant. You have to check with your local revenue office if your property meets their standards. Many states only allow new homes or vacant lands. However, there are also those which allow the purchase of established homes for the grant.
This article was first published on 14 November 2018 by Geraldine Grones, and was updated by Gerv Tacadena on 25 January 2022.