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Article | 4-minute read

Getting to know the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)

Yes, it’s true. Eligible first home buyers may get money from the government to help them buy their first home. It’s called the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) and it works slightly differently depending on the state or territory. Let’s take a closer look at how it works and who’s eligible.

What is the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)?

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme is a one-off cash payment for eligible first home buyers.

It is a national scheme funded and administered by the states and territories, so each state and territory has its own rules.

Who can get the FHOG?

For a start, you can only get it if you’re buying your ‘first home’. Generally, this means you (and anyone you’re buying with) must not have owned a residential property before. 

There are a few other requirements too. Generally speaking:

  • you need to be at least 18 years of age
  • you or the person you’re buying with needs to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • it can’t be a holiday home or an investment property
  • you or the person you’re buying with must not have received the FHOG in the past
  • you need to move into your house within 12 months after settlement or completion of the house
  • you need to live in it for at least six months.

Requirements may change and differ depending on the state or territory. The best thing to do is to check the FHOG eligibility that applies to you, as well as first home buyer stamp duty concessions, before you apply.

What sort of properties are eligible?

The FHOG only applies to a home that you will live in and doesn’t apply to investment properties or holiday homes.

In some states or territories, you can only get the FHOG if you’re buying a new home, or one that’s been substantially renovated. This could include:

  • buying an off the plan property
  • building a home on vacant land
  • buying an established home where all or most of the building has been renovated, fixed or replaced.

Usually, there’s also a limit on the property’s value – but the exact limit depends on the location. For example, as at November 2020, the NSW government has applied a purchase price limit for eligible first home buyers of $600,000 for newly constructed homes or a combined value of less than $750,000 for the land and dwelling you intend to build on that land. In other areas of Australia, the cap may be lower or higher. 

How much is the FHOG?

Once again, rules differ depending on the state or territory. For example, in Victoria you may receive a larger amount for a property located in a regional area.

As a first home buyer, you could be eligible for other concessions too – like stamp duty exemptions and discounts. These also vary depending on the state or territory.

How do I apply?

You can apply directly to the government revenue office in your state or territory. But many people choose to lodge their FHOG application through their lender. If you’re applying for a home loan with ANZ, we’ll guide you through the process and help you fill out the paperwork.

The process will be slightly different depending on which state or territory you live in, so check the application details carefully. You’ll need to lodge:

  • documents that confirm your identity and your eligibility; and 
  • a copy of the contract of sale (or contract to build if you’re constructing a new home).

A word of advice: tell the truth on your application. If you don’t, you could end up getting prosecuted and there are heavy penalties if you’re convicted. It really isn’t worth it.

When is the FHOG paid?

The FHOG payment is generally granted at settlement. This means it's not available when you need to provide the seller with a deposit. You'll need to pay your deposit when you sign a contract of sale, which is usually months before settlement.

You may need to seek additional funds for settlement if your application for FHOG is not approved by your government revenue office.

One more thing...

Like all government-run schemes, FHOG is subject to change. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: you need to double-check the details if you’re planning to apply.

Find out more about the rules in your state or territory:

 

To sum up 

  • The FHOG is a one-off grant designed to help people buying their first home.
  • Eligibility for the FHOG is different depending on each state or territory’s requirements.
  • Before applying, make sure you have up-to-date information on the requirements.
  • You can apply directly to the government or through your home loan lender.

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