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6 schemes that can make buying your first home easier

December 2, 2021
December 2, 2021
Buying your first home in Australia can be a daunting (and expensive!) prospect. Luckily, there are a few schemes and tips that can help you on your way.

Buying your first home can be exciting and frustrating and slightly terrifying, all at the same time. It’s a big step for anyone. And given your home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, it’s a key time to align your banking with your values.

Even though Australian property prices are on the rise (again) there are a few government schemes that are making it easier for first home buyers to get a deposit together and jump into the market.

We’ve rounded up some of the major ones here, but it’s always worth chatting to your mortgage broker or adviser. They’ll know which programs you qualify for. Also, just a heads up: some of these schemes are time-sensitive. The early bird gets the discount.

1. Victorian Homebuyer Fund

Available to Australian citizens and permanent residents who currently don’t own a home, this fund is making it easier for first or returning homeowners to save for their deposit. Rather than slogging it out to save a 10% deposit on a new home, the Victorian Homebuyer Fund enables eligible buyers to purchase a home with just 5%*, then the government will support it with an additional 25% in exchange for an equivalent share in the property. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander buyers can start with a 3.5% deposit, and receive government support up to 35%. Nice! You also won’t need to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

There are a few boxes to tick on this one. In order to access it, you need to earn under $125K pa (or under $200K if you’re a couple or family), don’t already own a home, and your potential new digs needs to cost under $950K in Melbourne or Geelong, or under $600K in regional Victoria.

2. First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

Usually, if you’re buying a house with less than 20% deposit, you need to pay something called lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). It’s an additional cost, on top of your regular mortgage repayments. But thanks to the federal government’s new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS), first home buyers can buy or build a new home with as little as 5% deposit (subject to your lender’s regular criteria). There are limited spots for this one, and it only applies to new-builds, or off-the-plan dwellings.

We have a range of loans available to first-home buyers. Find out more about what’s best for you here.

And while we’re talking about deposits, in the lead up to buying your first home, it’s important to plan, budget and save! After all, the more you save, the less you’ll need to borrow. Check out our Home Loan Borrowing Power calculator to find out how much you may be eligible for.

3. First Home Owner Grant

Most state governments have their own First Home Owner Grant systems. These have been around for a while. In Victoria, for instance, you can get $10,000 when you buy or build a brand new home. Queensland has a similar program. Most First Home Owner Grants have purchase price limits—your home generally needs to be under $750,000, but it varies state-by-state. Check your relevant government website for all the details.

4. First Home Super Saver Scheme

This scheme has been kicking around for a couple of years, and helps you save money for your first home within your super fund. In 2017, the ATO allowed you to make voluntary before- and after-tax contributions to your super, for the sole purpose of saving for a new home. Then, to access funds for a deposit, you can apply to release those contributions from your account.

The current amount eligible individuals can withdraw is $30,000, but this ticks up to $50K from 1 July 2022.  

5. HomeBuilder

Applications for the HomeBuilder grant closed on 14 April 2021, but if you submitted your application before then, you’re still eligible to receive funding (as long as your application ticks all the boxes). On 29 November 2020, the federal government announced the new HomeBuilder scheme. If you entered into a contract before 31 December 2020 to build or renovate a new home, the government would give you up to $25,000 towards the project. This applied to first home buyers, too.  

6. Stamp Duty Waiver

Most states will waive stamp duty (also known as land tax) for first home buyers, as long as your house is under a certain price threshold. Victoria has actually gone one step better and introduced a comprehensive stamp duty waiver. This one’s pretty amazing: if you signed the contract for a new home before 1 July 2021, you got 25% off your stamp duty for existing residential properties, and a whopping 50% off for new builds and off-the-plan developments. This is for houses up to $1 million, and it’s on top of all the existing schemes and benefits listed above. Not too shabby.

Buying a home is a big investment – probably one of the biggest you’ll ever make! We’re here to help. Find out more about what’s involved, from planning to financing to purchasing, now.

*Stamp duty and other costs payable. Terms and conditions, eligibility and lending criteria apply. Restrictions and obligations imposed after purchase.