First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) Overview


The Federal Government has funded a national scheme called the First Home Owner Grant, which offers first time home buyers $7,000 to put toward the purchase of their first home. Although it is a federal program, FHOG is administered by the Revenue Offices of each state or territory.


Am I Eligible for FHOG?


You could be eligible for a First Home Owners Grant if you are either an Australian citizen or a permanent legal resident and are either buying or building your first home here in Australia. You must also intend to live in that home continuously for at least 6 months starting no later than 12 months after completing the sale or finishing construction, depending on whether you are buying or building.


Additional Considerations


It does not matter what your income is as far as FHOG is concerned. It also makes no difference where you are planning to purchase or build. You pay no tax on the grant and it is not means tested.


The First Home Owners Grant criteria all apply to anyone else that you are buying or building the property with. If one of you does not qualify, then your whole group cannot qualify. Talk to a Mortgage Choice Broker to find out how to fill out an application for your whole group.


In order to qualify for the grant, you cannot pay more than a certain amount for the property. These maximum values vary by region:


* South Australia: $575,000


* Australian Capital Territory: $750,000


* Northern Territory: $750,000


* Queensland: $750,000


* Victoria: $750,000


* Western Australia: $750,000 or $1,000,000 for property north of the 26th parallel


* New South Wales: $835,000


* Tasmania: No limit


Additional Benefits and Grants for First Time Buyers


Besides the First Home Owners Grant of $7,000, there are additional benefits and grants available to people buying their first homes. These also vary by region:


* New South Wales


The First Home – New Home scheme in New South Wales gives eligible first-time home buyers an exemption from duty. This applies to home purchases of up to $550,000 and to vacant land purchases of up to $350,000. There are a number of other benefits for first time owners in New South Wales totaling $27,240 that are available. When you apply, keep in mind that exemptions and concessions do not apply when you purchase an existing home. Starting in October 2012, FHOG will be replaced in NSW by the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes), valued at $15,000. Starting in 2014, it will be reduced to $10,000. This replacement grant covers properties valued anywhere up to $650,000.


* Queensland


If you are buying a property valued at any amount up to $505,000, you may be eligible for a duty concession of as much as $8,750. That figure goes down to $7,175 for purchases of vacant land that you intend to build on. In combination with FHOG you could receive a combined benefit of as much as $15,750.


* Northern Territory


The BuildBonus grant for first-time home buyers is worth $10,000. It is also available to investors, companies and trustees who are purchasing or building a new home between May 2011 and the end of 2012. The HOMESTART NT scheme helps low to middle income NT residents purchasing their first homes. It is administered by TIO.


* South Australia


The First Home Bonus Grant gives first time South Australian home buyers $8,000 toward purchase or construction. The home must be worth under $450,000. The Bonus will no longer be available as of 1st July 2013.


* Western Australia


The Home Buyers Assistance Account helps Western Australia residents who are buying their first homes with a grant of $2,000. The account is only available for properties valued up to $400,000. It is not available for vacant land. To see if you apply, talk to the Real Estate & Business Agents Supervisory Board.


* Australian Capital Territory


There are no additional grants for residents of the Australian Capital Territory who want to purchase their first homes. However, there are stamp duty concessions available for properties valued at as much as $385,000.


* Victoria


There are no additional grants for Victorian first home buyers, though stamp duty concessions are available to purchasers of a primary place of residence.


* Tasmania


There are no additional first home grants available in Tasmania.




What Are the Eligibility Requirements?


You have to be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia. The home that you are buying or building has to be the first home that you have ever owned in Australia. You must be intending to live there within a year of settlement. There are no income or location restrictions. Ask your Mortgage Choice Consultant for further advice. If others are going to be making the purchase with you, then all of them must be eligible in order for you to receive it.


How Do I Apply?


Usually the lender will act as an agent for the Revenue Office. Ask your Mortgage Choice Consultant for help completing the necessary forms as part of your application for a home loan. The funds will become available after the completion of construction, if you are building, or upon settlement, if you are purchasing.


Can I Get Other Grants?


Many state schemes exist to help you afford that all-important first home. Not all states have the same programs. Some have no programs at all. For further details, consult with your Mortgage Choice Consultant.


Where Can I Find More Information?


If you need more specific information, contact these offices to get region-specific advice about benefits and grants for first time home owners or builders.


* New South Wales – NSW Office of State Revenue


* Northern Territory – Northern Territory Treasury


* Australian Capital Territory – ACT Revenue Office


* Western Australia – First Home Owners Grant Western Australia


* South Australia – RevenueSA


* Queensland – Office of State Revenue


* Victoria – The State Revenue Office (SRO)


* Tasmania – First Home Owners Grant Tasmania


The First Home Owners Grant is an excellent opportunity for getting into your first home that you should not overlook. Whether you are looking to buy a house or build a new house with your own labor, a First Home Owners Grant can set you on your way. Talk to your Mortgage Choice Broker for advice and help in filling out the application.


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