Handouts for first-home buyers

Be it a grant, a boost or a concession, there is helpful cash available to realise the great Australian dream…
The First Home Owners Boost, which was introduced in October 2008, came to an end on December 31 but there is still assistance for first-home buyers. The $7000 First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) remains in place and most of the states and territories have additional benefits.

If you are buying or building your first home you can still apply for grants of $10,000 or more and transfer duty concessions worth thousands of dollars.

The FHOG is administered by state and territory governments and has been available since 2000. The Boost meant that for contracts made between October 14, 2008, and September 30, 2009, first-home buyers purchasing established homes would receive a total grant of $14,000 and buyers of a newly constructed home would receive a grant of $21,000. The Boost was wound back progressively, so that for contracts made between October 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, first-home buyers purchasing established homes would receive $10,500 and buyers of a newly built home would receive $14,000.

On January 1 the Boost was cut out altogether. Grants reverted to the old FHOG scheme plus any additional state or territory supplements.

FHOG works the same way in each state and territory and applies to houses, townhouses and apartments. Supplementary schemes have rules that vary from state to state.

NSW

In November 2008, the NSW Government introduced a $3000 supplement to go with the Boost, available for first-home buyers purchasing a newly constructed home.

First-home buyers in NSW could receive a benefit of up to $24,000.

The supplement remains in place until June 30 and, combined with the $7000 FHOG, first-home buyers purchasing a newly constructed home can apply for a total benefit of $10,000.

After June 30 the only grant available will be the $7000 FHOG – available for buyers of established and newly constructed houses.

There has been a cap on the FHOG since January 1 this year. The home purchase must be for less than $750,000.

The NSW Office of State Revenue also offers a scheme called First Home Plus. First-home buyers can apply for an exemption on transfer duty on homes valued up to $500,000 and concessions on duty for homes valued between $500,000 and $600,000. The duty on a $500,000 home is $17,990. The NSW Government paid $1.7 billion of first-home benefits last year.

Details at osr.nsw.gov.au.

VICTORIA

Victoria’s State Revenue Office has a First Home Bonus scheme that is available until June 30 and offers $11,000 on top of the $7000 FHOG for first-time buyers purchasing a newly constructed home and $2000 on top of the FHOG for purchasers of an established dwelling.

Victoria also has a Regional Bonus scheme operating until June 30.

First-home buyers can receive another $4500 on top of FHOG and the Home Bonus scheme if they buy a newly constructed dwelling in a regional municipality.

Victoria has exemptions from land transfer duty. If the home is the principal residence and the purchase price is below $440,000, the rate of duty falls from 6 per cent to 5 per cent.

If the price is between $440,000 and $550,000, the concession is a flat $3100.

Buyers who entered a contract after May 6, 2008, are eligible for both the bonus and the transfer duty concession. Details at http://www.sro.vic.gov.au.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

The ACT Government has a scheme called Home Buyer Concession, which offers concessions on transfer duty for dwellings with a dutiable value of up to $422,000 and vacant land with a dutiable value of up to $233,300. There is an income test for eligibility, which starts at $120,000 and increases to $136,650 according to the number of children in the household. First-home buyers can also apply to defer payment of their duty for up to five years.

Details are at revenue.act.gov.au.

QUEENSLAND

First-home buyers can apply for transfer duty concession. The concession is weighted in favour of properties with lower values. A duty rate of 1 per cent applies for homes worth up to $350,000. Buyers can expect a saving of about $8750 on a purchase of up to $500,000. Details at osr.qld.gov.au.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

First-home buyers in the west can also apply for duty concessions. The arrangements are relatively generous. There is no rate of duty on a home with a value of up to $500,000.

Details at http://www.dtf.wa.gov.au.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

In 2008 the SA Government replaced a duty concession scheme with a First Home Bonus Grant. Buyers who qualify for FHOG can apply for the bonus. The additional payment is $4000 on dwellings with a market value of up to $400,000. The value of the grant is reduced by 48 cents for every $100 of value in excess of $400,000; the grant is reduced to zero when the value of the dwelling reaches $450,000.

Details at revenuesa.sa.gov.au.

STATES AND TERRITORIES

Each has different eligibility rules covering occupancy and how concessions will be applied if the home is a joint purchase.
SOURCE: John Kavanagh – Sydney Morning Herald



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