What First Home Buyer Schemes Are Available in Australia? (Updated 2022)

If you're a first home buyer, the good news is that there are several schemes set up by the Australian government to help you financially through the process.

Home Ownership
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by
Dawn Teh

If you're a first home buyer, the good news is that there are several schemes set up by the Australian government to help you financially through the process.

The bad news is that it can be very confusing trying to navigate all the different schemes with their various eligibility criteria! 

Fortunately, we've put together this ultimate guide so you can understand your choices and which ones apply to you.

Let's get into it!

Disclaimer: 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).

Overview: Government First Home Buyers Schemes and Grants

Government first home buyer schemes can be categorised based on whether they apply nationwide or are state-specific:

National Initiatives

  1. First Home Guarantee (aka First Home Loan Deposit Scheme) — The government guarantees part of your deposit. 
  2. First Home Super Saver Scheme — You can make voluntary contributions to your super and withdraw it to use as a home deposit. 
  3. Family Home Guarantee — This scheme is for single parents with dependents. The government assists by guaranteeing part of your deposit. 
  4. Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme — This is for those intending to buy property in regional Australia. The government helps by guaranteeing part of your deposit. 
  5. Help to Buy Scheme — The government makes a 40% equity contribution to your home purchase. 

State-specific Initiatives

  1. First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) — this is a national scheme, but there are some differences between states.
  2. One-off transfer duty (stamp duty) waivers or concessions

National First Home Buyers Schemes and Grants 

Option 1: First Home Guarantee

The First Home Guarantee scheme in Australia was set up by the federal government as a way for first time buyers to get on the property ladder with a little help.

What is it?

The scheme allows eligible first home buyers to buy a property with just a 5% deposit, which is much less than the normal 20%.

The government basically guarantees the rest of the deposit amount so you don't have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance. This insurance is usually paid by the borrower to protect the lender in case the borrower cannot pay back the loan.

How many places available?

From 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023, there will be 35,000 places available.  

Who's eligible?

  • Individual applicants or couples (married or de facto). 
  • Australian citizen(s).  
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old. 
  • You must not earn more than $125,000 as an individual, or more than $200,000 for couples. This will be verified with a Notice of Assessment from the Australian Taxation Office. 
  • You must intend to be an owner-occupier(s) of the property. 
  • First home buyers. You must not have previously owned a property in Australia.
Key Term: Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)
You might have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance when you are unable to put up the full 20% deposit on a home loan.

This is because any loan with a deposit that's smaller than 20% of the property's value is usually deemed risky to the lender.

The insurance helps reduce this risk by protecting the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Many government schemes help home buyers by guaranteeing part of the deposit so no LMI needs to be paid.

Option 2: First Home Super Saver Scheme

The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme is an Australian Government initiative that allows first home buyers to save for their deposit using their superannuation.

What is it?

Under this scheme, you can make voluntary contributions to your super of up to $15,000 per financial year, and up to $50,000 in total.

You may benefit from lower super tax rates or tax offsets depending on the type of contributions you make.

Do note that you can only withdraw voluntary contributions which you've made to your super fund. This does not include employer contributions.

You can contribute to this fund through salary sacrifice (pre-tax) which you'll need to arrange with your employer.

Alternatively, you can make voluntary contributions from your after-tax income.

When you're ready to buy your home, you can withdraw your savings, plus any earnings, and use them towards your deposit.

How many places available?

There are no limits to the number of applicants for this scheme.

Who is eligible?

  • You must be 18 years old or older to request that your super be released under the FHSS scheme. But you can start saving up before you're 18.
  • Those who have not owned any property in Australia before. This includes investment property and land.
  • You do not need to be an Australian citizen or Australian resident to qualify for the FHSS scheme.

Option 3: Family Home Guarantee

The family home guarantee is meant to assist eligible single parents with dependent children in buying their family home sooner.

What is it?

Approved applicants can buy a home with just a 2% deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. The government guarantees the rest of the 18% to make up the typical 20%.

How many places available?

There will be 5,000 places available each financial year between 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025.

Who is eligible?

  • Single persons. You must not have a spouse and/or a de facto partner. If you are separated but not divorced, you will not be deemed single.  
  • You must have at least one dependent child (either natural or adoptive).

Option 4: Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme

The Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme is designed to assist those looking to buy their first property in regional Australia.

This scheme was created in response to the housing crisis that's hit many regional areas which are facing the largest drops in housing affordability.

What is it?

Under this scheme (starting in Jan 2023), first home buyers looking at regional areas can secure a home with a deposit as low as 5%.

The government will guarantee the remaining deposit amount (up to 15% of the purchase price) so buyers can avoid paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

How many places available?

There will be 10,000 places available to regional first home buyers a year.

Who is eligible?

  • Those living outside an Australian capital city.
  • First home buyers.
  • Australian citizens over 18 years old.
  • You must live in the property you intend to purchase.
  • Your taxable income must not be above $125,000 per year if you're single. For couples, your joint income must not exceed $200,000 a year.
  • You need to have resided in that region for the past 12 months.
  • Those that meet the property price thresholds.

Option 5: Help To Buy Scheme

The Help to Buy scheme has not started yet. But current the government intends to reduce the cost of home ownership by up to 40% for those selected to be part of the scheme.

This will mean smaller deposits and mortgage repayments for buyers.

What is it?

For this scheme, the government will make a 40% equity contribution toward the purchase of your new home. Approved applicants only need to come up with a minimum 2% deposit.

How many places available?

There will be 10,000 places open to Australians each year

Who is eligible?

  • Australian citizens who are at least 18 years old.
  • Earn less than $90,000 a year for individuals, or less than $120,000 for couples.
  • You must live in the property as your primary residence.
  • You can't own any other land or property.
  • You need a 2% deposit and qualify for a standard home loan with a lender.

State-specific government grants and schemes for first home buyers

Now that we've covered the nationwide schemes, let's get into some of the state-specific schemes.

Generally, you'll find that each state will provide their own version of:

  1. The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG). This is technically a national scheme, but there are some differences between states.
  2. One-off transfer duty (stamp duty) concessions

New South Wales (NSW)

There are currently 2 schemes available to first home buyers in NSW:

First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme

What is it?

  • Exemption from paying transfer duty (may be full or partial).

Main Requirements

  • First home buyers who are Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  • Property value must be less than $800,000.

Other requirements can be found here.

First Home Owner Grant (New Home)

What is it?

  • You can receive $10,000 towards your property purchase. This can also be used in addition to the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme benefits.

Main requirements

  • It's your first home (buying or building).
  • No one has lived in the home before.
  • It can't be above $750,000 in value.
  • Find out about more requirements

Queensland (QLD)

Queensland has the following grants and schemes for first home buyers:

  • You can receive $15,000 through the FHOG scheme. It applies to those buying or building a new house. But must be worth less than $750,000.
  • If you're intending to purchase in regional Queensland, you can receive $5,000 through the Regional Home Building Boost Grant. The property value must be less than $750,000.
  • Pay some or no stamp duty through the First Home Concession. It only applies to properties valued under $550,000.
  • Pay some or no stamp duty through the First Home Vacant Land Concession. It only applies to vacant land valued under $400,000.

Please visit the Queensland Government website for more details.

Victoria

Here's a look at some of the grants and concessions available to first home buyers in Victoria:

  • The $10,000 FHOG is available for first-home buyers. The value of the home must be $750,000 or less. The home must also be less than 5 years old.
  • Stamp (transfer) duty exemption, reduction, and concessions are available. Exemption or 50% duty reduction is available for new or established properties valued at up to $600,000. The duty concession kicks in for properties valued between $600,000 and $750,000.

Please visit the State Revenue Office of Victoria’s website for more information.

Northern Territory (NT)

The NT has several attractive government schemes for first home buyers. But some apply to any property owner too.

Here's a quick overview of the options:

  • $10,000 First Home Owners Grant for buying or building a home in the state.
  • Stamp duty exemption for house and land packages under the House and Land Package Exemption.
  • A $10,000 Home Renovation Grant for renovations.
  • A $2,000 Household Goods Grant Scheme.

Please visit the NT government website for more information.

South Australia (SA)

First home buyers in South Australia access a one-off $15 000 one-off FHOG for buying or building a new home.

Unfortunately, SA has no stamp duty exemption or concessions for first home buyers.

Please visit the Revenue SA website for more information.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In the ACT, the FHOG has been replaced with the Home Buyers Concession Scheme.

Under this scheme, you won't need to pay stamp duty on your property purchase.

Who's eligible?

  • Those 18 and older.
  • You must meet certain income thresholds.
  • All buyers must not have owned any other property in the past 2 years.
  • At least one buyer has to live in the home for a year.

Please visit ACT Revenue Office’s website for more details.

Tasmania (TAS)

First home buyers in Tasmania can access:

  • $30,000 FHOG first home buyers either building or buying a new property.
  • 50% stamp duty discount when buying an established home that's worth $400 000 or less.

Please visit the State Revenue Office of Tasmania’s website for more information.

Western Australia (WA)

If you're in WA, here are the schemes available to you:

  • $10,000 FHOG which can be used by first home buyers purchasing or building their new residential property.
  • Stamp duty waiver for first home buyers as long as the home value is less than $430,000. If your property is between $430,001 and $530,000, you might still get discounted or concessional rates.

For both schemes, the home must be your principal place of residence.

Please visit the WA government website for more details.

FAQs: Nationwide government schemes for first home buyers in Australia

Can I apply for multiple government grants and schemes?

Yes, you might be able to apply (and receive the benefits) for a few government grants at the same time. But you'll need to check the specific eligibility criteria of each scheme before proceeding. 

Are there any disadvantages to government grants?

For the individual home buyer, there aren't any significant disadvantages to government grants. However, many of them have limited places along with limits on applicant income and property value ceiling. 

This can mean that many people are still excluded from receiving these grants or concessions. 

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.  

Didn't meet the requirements for a government scheme? We can help!

If you don't fit the bill for these government first home buyer schemes, why not explore rent-to-own with OwnHome?

All you need is a 3% deposit to get started. You move in immediately as a renter and eventually buy back the home from us when you're ready!

Head over to our calculator to discover your buying power with OwnHome:

Discover Your Buying Power With OwnHome

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