The First Home Buyers Grant was introduced in 2000 as a government scheme. It is intended for people buying a home for the first time, to help offset the Good and Services Tax (GST) that is paid when purchasing a house. The grant provides a lump-sum payment between $7,000 and $20,000 plus a discount on stamp duty for those who are buying or building a new home – but it changes frequently, and exact parameters vary across states and territories.
To receive this grant, you must be an individual over the age of 18, purchasing the property as an individual (not a company or trust). You, or at least one person you’re buying with, must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and it must be the first property you have purchased in the country. Also, you should plan on living in the residence for a set minimum amount of time, which varies based on your state or territory.
You must apply for the grant within 12 months of settlement, and the market value of your home must not exceed specific limits set by your state or territory. The grant is typically paid at settlement after a deposit has been made, and therefore the lump sum is unlikely to be available to use as your deposit.
In most cases, you won’t be eligible for the grant if either you or your spouse have previously owned or co-owned property in Australia, or if either of you have received an Australian First Home Owners Grant in the past.
Since this is a national scheme administered separately by the states and territories, the terms and conditions will vary across different locations, and your final eligibility will be determined subject to a range of factors, including the value of your home, whether it is a new build, several years old, or under construction, and what specific type of property it is. If you think you may be eligible for a First Home Buyers Grant, it could significantly broaden the range of homes you are looking at in the interest of making a purchase.