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.
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.
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 or twelve months if it’s a New South Wales or Victorian property
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.
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 more information on the value threshold, refer to the relevant state's First Home Owner Grant website.
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.
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 completed and signed FHOG application along with the supporting documents can be submitted to the FHOG team at email@example.com for processing.
The process will be slightly different depending on which state or territory you live in, so check the application details carefully as each state’s evidentiary requirements based on transaction type will vary. Generally, 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.
The FHOG payment is generally granted at settlement for buying a new home (including off-the-plan purchases) or on the first drawdown of funds (completion of the foundations), for contracts to build your new home. 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.
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:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- 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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