Do first-time home buyers in Australia have to pay stamp duty?

There are new Australian state government options for first-home buying which can offer relief from daunting upfront costs.
Ava Crawford
Written by
Ava Crawford
Imogen Baxter
Reviewed by
Imogen Baxter
Last updated
February 12, 2024
0 minute read
Table of contents
Australian first home buyer young woman sitting at a desk doing stamp duty exemption paperwork

For generations of Australians, homeownership has been both important and attainable. As property prices rise and wages stagnate, getting together the cash for a 20% home loan deposit and the interest rates and associated fees have become increasingly more difficult for everyday Aussies.

Many people are stuck in rent cycles, spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on monthly rent but unable to save the large lump sum required to purchase a first home.

Luckily, there are new options for first-home buying which can offer relief from daunting upfront costs. Here’s everything you need to know about stamp duty for first-home buyers.

What is stamp duty?

In Australia, you must pay stamp duty when buying a home. It is a one-time upfront government transfer duty charged when a property or land changes hands.

Stamp duty must be considered when calculating your home-buying budget. It can be around 4%-5% of the value of the property - a considerable sum that often reaches the tens of thousands.

The specific amount of stamp duty you owe on a property is dictated by the duty rates in the state in which you’re buying. These rates are usually tiered, so, generally speaking, the higher the purchase price, the more you will pay in stamp duty.

Head to the OwnHome stamp duty calculator to learn how much you could be paying.

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Can first-home buyers get a reduction in stamp duty costs?

Most states offer stamp duty exemptions and concessions, especially for eligible first-home buyers. So, when calculating how much you will need to set aside for your first home - deposit, stamp duty, council fees, mortgage application, registration fees and ongoing home loan repayments etc. - it’s important to know which exemptions and concessions are available.

Can I buy a home in Australia as a migrant?

Which stamp duty concessions are available in each Australian state or territory?

To help first-time buyers get their feet on the property ladder, most state governments have introduced first-home buyer grants (FHOG) and significant fee concessions - even complete stamp duty exemptions -for those purchasing their first home. Keep in mind, each program has specific eligibility criteria, such as property market value, buyer residency status (Australian citizen, permanent resident, etc.) and that the home will be a residential property - not an investment.

Check out the list below to see which state stamp duty programs you might qualify for:

● New South Wales

The NSW government’s First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme offers first-time home buyers an exemption from transfer duty for purchases of new and existing homes up to $800,000 and a concessional rate of duty for homes up to $1,000,000.

If you want to purchase land on which you intend to build a home, you may receive an exemption for land valued up to $350,000 and a concessional rate for land valued over $350,000 and less than $450,000.

If you’re a first-time buyer hoping to purchase property in Sydney or elsewhere in NSW, check out the OwnHome NSW stamp duty calculator.

Please note

In May 2023, First Home Buyer Choice was repealed, and replaced with expanded stamp duty concessions. This means that any homes with exchange dates after 1 July 2023 will no longer be eligible for First Home Buyer Choice.

Buyers who have already opted into the scheme will be grandfathered in, and may continue to pay land tax instead of stamp duty on their purchased property.

The NSW First Home Buyer Choice scheme gave you the option to choose between paying stamp duty and an annual property tax (also called land tax). It was introduced for first home buyers in NSW who are purchasing properties under $1.5 million.

The eligibility requirements were as follows:

  • You must be a first home buyer - i.e. you must never have been on title before. If you are buying with a partner, both of you must be first home buyers.
  • Buying a home valued at less than $1,500,000, or vacant land (for the purposes of building a home) worth $800,000
  • You, or your partner, must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • You must be over 18
  • You must have not previously received a first home buyer grant or duty concessions
  • You must move into the home within 12 months of buying
  • You must live in the property for at least 6 months

To calculate your property tax, you can use the NSW Government's property tax tool.


● Victoria

If you’re a Victorian first-time buyer, the VIC government offers a stamp duty exemption on new or existing properties valued up to $600,000, as well as a concession on homes worth up to $750,000.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer looking in Melbourne or elsewhere in VIC, check out the OwnHome VIC stamp duty calculator.

● Queensland

First-time buyers in Queensland can apply for a QLD stamp duty concession. Qualifying properties can be new or existing but must be worth less than $550,000. First-time buyers purchasing land can claim a fee exemption for vacant land valued at less than $400,00.

Queensland also offers general stamp duty concessions, so if you have your heart set on a property above these thresholds, you could still save on stamp duty.

● Western Australia

Those looking to get their foot in the door of the WA property market can expect to skip WA stamp duty on homes - new or existing - with a dutiable value under $430,000, as well as vacant land worth less than $300,000. For homes, stamp duty is payable at a concession rate of $19.19 for every $100 your property value is above $430,000, going up to $530,000. For vacant land, a concessional stamp duty rate of $13.01 for every $100 over $300,000 applies up to a value of $400,000.

● South Australia

At this time, the South Australian gov does not offer stamp duty concessions or exemptions for first-time home buyers. SA does have a SA first-time buyer grant available for those purchasing a new-build house or apartment.


For first-time buyers looking to settle in Australia’s capital territory, there are ACT stamp duty exemptions on new homes and vacant land. There is no required stamp duty on new homes worth less than $470,000, and concessions are available on new-build homes valued between $470,000 and $607,000. If you’re looking to build a principal place of residence on a piece of vacant ACT land, you will be charged $0 in stamp duty up to the value of $281,200. Concessions are then available up to $329,500.

● Northern Territory

Currently, the Northern Territory government does not offer stamp duty concessions or exemptions for first-time home buyers. That said, those looking to buy in NT are not forgotten. You can apply for a $10,000 bonus under the Northern Territory’s First Home Owner Grant Scheme, which could go a long way towards offsetting those upfront fees.

● Tasmania

Tasmania does not offer any stamp duty exemptions for first-time home buyers. But, the TAS state government does offer a duty concession of 50% on first properties valued under $600,000.

Interested in getting started on the road to homeownership? Check out our Buying Power Calculator to get an idea of the maximum you could spend on a property.


What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is an government tax in Australia that is paid on the purchase and transfer of a property. Each state has different obligations and regulations around stamp duty.

It is a one-off fee and is paid on both owner-occupier homes and investment property. It is payable within 2 weeks and 3 months of settlement, dependent on which state of Australia you are in.

First home buyers accessing the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) may be exempt from stamp duty.

You also do not have to pay stamp duty if you inherit a property, no matter the value of the property. Gifting property will incur stamp duty.

How much is Stamp Duty?

The higher the value of the property, the more stamp duty you will incur.

The amount of stamp duty you will pay can be worked out with a stamp duty calculator, with the disclaimer that most of these calculators will not factor in stamp duty exemptions.

When do I apply for the first home owner grant?

Each state has its own rules about when to apply for the first home owner grant. But generally, you must apply for it within a year from the settlement date. 

How do I apply for these government first home buyer grants or schemes?

The best way to apply for these grants is to head to the relevant government department website to get more details about the procedure.

Remember, some of these schemes are state-specific. So you might have to go to your individual state governments' websites.

This article is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial product advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice and read the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS), or other offer documents before making an investment decision in relation to a financial product (including a decision about whether to acquire or continue to hold).
Prepared by OwnHome Services Pty Ltd ACN 664 492 059. This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Always read the disclosure documents for products and services before deciding on a product or service, and consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice for your unique circumstances.

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