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 $130,485 for a single applicant (or up to $208,775 if you’re a couple or family), don’t already own a home, and your potential new digs needs to cost under $950,000 in Melbourne or Geelong, or under $600,000 in regional Victoria.
2. First Home Guarantee
The First Home Guarantee (FHBG), is part of the Home Guarantee Scheme, an Australian Government initiative to support eligible home buyers to purchase a home sooner. It does this by allowing Housing Australia to issue up to 35,000 guarantees each financial year from 2023-24 for eligible loans to home buyers with a deposit of between 5 and 20 percent of the property value.
We have a range of loans available to 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 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. Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee
The Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (RFHBG) is part of the Home Guarantee Scheme, an Australian government initiative to support eligible home buyers to purchase a home sooner.
From July 1 2023, 10,000 places have been released under the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (RFHBG) for each financial year up to 30 June 2025. These places support eligible regional home buyers to purchase a new or existing home.
4. 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.
5. 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 $50,000.
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.
7. Stamp Duty Waiver
In Victoria, you can apply to have your stamp duty waived or receive a concession (also known as land tax) if you're a first home buyer, as long as your house is under a certain price threshold. The first home buyer stamp duty exemption or concession may be available if:
- Your home is purchased for under $600k to receive the first home buyer duty exemption
- Your home is purchased for between $600,001 and $750,000 to receive the first home buyer duty concession
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.