The ULTIMATE Guide to First Home Buyer Grants, Schemes, Concessions, Rebates and Discounts by State, By Bank and more!

Buying your first home is daunting and emotional. It is a rollercoaster ride of learning, decision making, excitement, disappointment and confusion. When it comes to finances, buying your first home is scary because we are talking about large sums of money being moved around, not to mention putting yourself in significant debt as you pay off the home!

We put this ultimate guide together to summarise all the ways you can SAVE as a first home buyer. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to save and take advantage of free money that the Australian government, banks and even some mortgage brokers like Reservoir Finance, are handing out!

We have summarised below all the schemes that are available and the key info you need to know. Use the quick links below to jump to the relevant section. At the bottom, we have a few examples of how some of our customers are taking advantage of all these schemes to save thousands of dollars on their first home!

Update – 7th July 2021 – Details about the new Federal Government Family Home Guarantee. Also updated all lender FHB deals!

Update – 15th Jan 2021 – Northern Territory has extended their BuildBonus grant to 31 March 2021!

FREE FINANCIAL STRATEGY SESSION PLUS EXCLUSIVE CASHBACK FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS!

Reservoir Finance is offering a FREE finance strategy session to help you structure your loans to take advantage of as many government grants as possible! 

We will review your personal goals, financial circumstances and borrowing capacity to guide you to purchase your first property!

Reservoir Finance is also offering first home buyers and exclusive rebate of up to $1200 by PAYING for your home loan package fees for the first three years! Click here to learn more.

Reservoir Finance Exclusive Cashback for First Home Buyers
(on top of the lender, federal and state cashback offers below)

first home buyer cashback deal by reservoir finance

First Home Buyers
Up to $1200 cashback

Apply by 30 Jun 21 with Reservoir Finance.
Minimum Loan Amount = $250,000
One Cashback per customer.
First Home Buyers only.

T’s and C’s apply

Lender and Bank Rebates and Cashbacks for First Home Buyers - July 2021

rams-logo-1

RAMS - Up to $2000 rebate

Apply by 31 Jul 21. Settle by 30 Sep 21.
Minimum Amount = $250,000
One Cashback per customer.
Challenges – No attractive niches

ANZ-logo-logotype

ANZ - Up to $1000 conveyancing fee rebate

Apply by 31 Jul 21. Settle by 30 Sep 21.
Minimum Amount = $250,000.
One Cashback per person
First Home Buyers only
Challenges – Long loan processing time

greatsouthernbanklogo

Great Southern Bank - Up to $2000 cashback

Apply by 31 Dec 21. Settle by 31 Mar 22.
Minimum Amount = $250,000
First home Buyers only.
Challenges – No attractive niches

BoM-resized3

Bank of Melbourne - $1 LMI Offer

Apply FROM 27 July 2020.
Maximum LVR = 85%
One Cashback per customer.
First Home Buyers Only
Challenges – Long processing time

banksalogo

BankSA - $1 LMI Offer

Apply FROM 27 July 2020.
Maximum LVR = 85%
One Cashback per customer.
First Home Buyers Only
Challenges – Long processing time

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St George - $1 LMI Offer

Apply FROM 13 July 2020.
Maximum LVR = 85%
One Cashback per customer.
First Home Buyers Only
Challenges – Long processing time

ME Bank logo

ME Bank- 25% discount on LMI and reduced interest rates

Apply by 20 Nov 20. Settle by 26 Feb 21.
One Cashback per person
First Home Buyers only
Challenges – Long loan processing time

National Federal Government Schemes and Grants for First Home Buyers

Federal Budget 2020 First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS)

What is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS)?

Announced in the Federal Budget 2020, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme enables eligible first home buyers to purchase a home with a deposit as little as 5% of the value of the property without needing to pay lender’s mortgage insurance.

This means first home buyers will be able to purchase their first homes quicker as they only need to save 5-10% deposit as opposed to 20% in order to avoid lender’s mortgage insurance.

There are only 10,000 places available each year and the scheme is only available at 27 participating lenders.

Who are the participating lenders in the FHLDS scheme?

There are 27 participating lenders in the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and not all of them are banks. They are summarised in the following list:

  • Australian Military Bank
  • Auswide Bank
  • Bank Australia
  • BankFirst
  • Bank of Heritage Isle
  • Bank of Us
  • Bendigo Bank
  • Beyond Bank
  • Border Bank
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)
  • Community First Credit Union
  • CUA
  • Defence Bank
  • Endeavour Mutual Bank
  • Firefighters Mutual Bank
  • Gateway Bank
  • G&C Mutual Bank
  • Health Professionals Bank
  • Indigenous Business Australia
  • Mortgage Port
  • MyState Bank
  • National Australia Bank (NAB)
  • People’s Choice Credit Union
  • Police Bank
  • P&N Bank
  • Q Bank
  • Queensland Country Bank
  • Regional Australia Bank
  • Sydney Mutual Bank
  • Teachers Mutual Bank
  • The Mutual Bank
  • UniBank
  • WAW

Who is eligible for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme?

The eligibility criteria for the FHLD is as follows:

  • Singles & Couples (spouse or defacto) first home buyer for the purpose of residing in it (be an owner-occupier)
  • Applicants must move in the property within 6 months of settlement
  • Applicants must be living in the property for as long as the home has a guarantee under the scheme. This means that the home will lose the guarantee if you move out or not live in the property
  • Investment properties are not supported
  • An existing or off the plan house, townhouse or apartment is supported
  • Land purchases are supported as long as there is a separate contract to build a home (ie you cannot buy vacant land).
  • Applicants are 18 years and older
  • Applicants are Australian citizens
  • Applicants have never owned a property before
  • Applicants have a minimum 5% deposit of the value of the property
  • Taxable income in the previous financial year must not excess $125,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples
  • Price of the property being purchased must not exceed property price caps set by the Australian Federal Government

If you need assistance in working out if you are eligible, feel free to contact us, we would love to help!

What are the Property Price Thresholds for FHLDS?

The Federal Government has set price caps for participants in the FHLDS. This means if you are eligible, you cannot purchase a property that exceeds a certain value (1). This value varies by region and is summarised in the table below:

How do I apply for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme?

All applicants can apply either through a mortgage broker (like Reservoir Finance) or directly with the participating lender. The advantage of applying through a mortgage broker like Reservoir Finance is that we know the lender processes and criteria and can guide you to a lender best suited for your personal circumstances (for example, some lenders look more favourably upon sole trader incomes).

Given that the number of places is short, the last thing you want to do is to waste your time applying to a lender that will reject you. Working with a mortgage broker like Reservoir Finance can help reduce the chances of that. Make sure you choose a broker who works with many different lenders! We work with over 40 different lenders, meaning there is bound to be a lender in our panel that is participating in the FHLDS and has a lending product that suits your needs. For comparison, most other brokers work with 10-15 lenders.

HomeBuilder Grant

What is the HomeBuilder Grant?

The HomeBuilder Grant was announced by the Australian Government in 2020 in response to the coronavirus in order to stimulate the construction industry and provide jobs for builders and tradespeople through new home building and renovations. The HomeBuilder Grant gives owner-occupiers (which includes first home buyers!) $25,000 to spend on a new home or renovate an existing one (subject to eligibility criteria).

For first home buyers, the HomeBuilder Grant can be stacked on top of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme! This means (for example) a first home buyer today can buy land in Sydney (let’s assume for $350,000) with a contract to build a house worth $350,000 under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and still be eligible to receive an additional $25,000 grant through HomeBuilder. Effectively, in this scenario, the first home buyer needs to save (at best case) $35,000 for the deposit (5% of $700,000) to build their first home at a total cost of $675,000 after the HomeBuilder grant. Of course, this is still subject to lender requirements and not a free ticket for anyone.

The HomeBuilder Grant will be distributed through each individual state and territory.

What is the eligibility criteria for HomeBuilder?

The eligibility criteria for HomeBuilder as follows:

  • Must be an owner occupier
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must be an Australian citizen
  • Earning
    • less than $125,000 based on FY18-19 tax returns or later for singles
    • Less than $200,000 based on FY18-19 tax returns or later for couples
  • Enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020
    • Building new home as principal place of residence where property value does not exceed $750,000
    • Substantially renovate existing home as principal place of residence where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000 and value of existing property does not exceed $1.5 million pre-renovation
  • Construction must commence after 4 June and within 3 months of contract date

Construction loans are a bit more difficult to individually research and compare as lenders do not openly publish or advertise them compared to home loans.

At Reservoir Finance, our mortgage broker team has helped many of our clients obtain construction loans to either build or renovate a home. Save the headache and work with us. We also have no upfront fees for 99% of our applications unlike other mortgage brokers.

First Home Super Saver Scheme

What is the First Home Super Saver Scheme?

The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) is a little known Australian government program that allows first home buyers to increase their savings rates by making voluntary contributions to their superannuation (to take advantage of their higher returns compared to saving it in a bank account) and then draw the money out to use as a deposit on the first home.

When it comes to saving for a home loan, every little bit counts. The FHSS allows first time buyers to contribute up to $15,000 per financial year but only allows a maximum of $30,000 (all years combined) to be drawn from super to put towards your first home.

Are my voluntary contributions into super for FHSS tax free?

No, voluntary contributions into super for the First Home Super Saver Scheme is taxed at the standard 15% tax rate. The idea behind it is that it still might be a lower tax rate than your income tax. It is best to speak with your accountant to guide you on this.

What are the eligibility criteria for the FHSSS?

To be able to take money out of super for the purpose of FHSSS, you must:

  • Be a first home buyer
  • Within 12 months from the release, sign a contract to purchase or construct a home (and notify the ATO within 28 days)
  • Apply and receive a FHSSS determination from the ATO before signing a contract to purchase or construct a home
  • Purchase a home in Australia
    • You can purchase an investment property, commercial property or land
  • Intend to live in the property for at least 6 months within the first 12 months of owning it
  • Be over 18 years old
  • Never previously released funds under FHSSS

Family Home Guarantee

What is the Family Home Guarantee?

The Family Home Guarantee was a newly announced initiative in the Australian Federal Budget 2021-22. From 1st July 2021, it will open up 10,000 places (over four financial years) to enable eligible single parents with dependents to be allowed to build a new home or purchase an existing home with only a 2% deposit!

The home must be for residential property and principal place of residence only. It cannot be used for investment properties. You are allowed to purchase an existing house, townhouse or apartment; a house and land package; and off the plan apartment or townhouse; or a land and separate contract to build a home.

The Australian Federal Government will partner with participating lenders for this scheme. It will guarantee the participating lender up to 18% LVR for eligible borrowers under the Family Home Guarantee.

Who is eligible for the Family Home Guarantee?

The Family Home Guarantee is available for Australian citizens over 18 years of age who meet the following criteria:

  •  Must be a single parent with at least one dependent
  • A taxable income less than $125,000 per annum for the previous financial year EXCLUDING child support payments
  • The single parent offered a place in the Family Home Guarantee must be the only name listed on the loan and title of the property
  • The single parent must demonstrate that they are the natural or adoptive parent of a dependent child
  • Must have at least 2% deposit of the value of the property but no more than 20% (as the government will see you as not being in need of this guarantee and will use the places for other people in need).
  • The loans under the Family Home Guarantee must be principal and interest repayments for no more than 30 years.
  • The single parent awarded with the Family Home Guarantee must live in the property that is purchased under this guarantee
  • The single parent can either be a first home buyer or previous owner occupier who do not currently own a home
  • Single parent must not currently own other property in Australia

What are the thresholds for the Family Home Guarantee?

The Australian Federal Government has applied thresholds to which the Family Home Guarantee can be used. This amount will vary by state and capital cities. It will range from $250,000 to $700,000. The table below outlines the thresholds.

How do I apply for the Family Home Guarantee? Can I join a waiting list?

To apply for the Family Home Guarantee, you will need to apply through a participating lender when applying for a loan. The Federal Government does not manage any waiting lists. This means places in the Family Home Guarantee are on a first come first served basis.

If you want to work with a broker with no upfront fees for 99% of their clients as well as a fast turnaround time, Reservoir Finance is here to help you. Contact us below for a FREE financial strategy planning session to help you buy your first home or re-enter the housing market sooner.

State Government Grants and Schemes that help first home buyers

On top of the federal government grants and schemes, each state government has their own concessions, grants and schemes to assist first home buyers. The state-based schemes can be stacked on top of federal grants and schemes which can help a first home buyer save thousands of dollars!

In general, across all states, there are two types of schemes or concessions available:

  • Stamp duty discount or concession – each state will either waive or discount the stamp duty (tax) paid on purchasing a property
  • New home grant – each state will also have an individual grant (on top of HomeBuilder) which encourages new housing

ACT

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), they do not have a first home owner’s grant that provides lump sum cash to first home buyers. The ACT only has stamp duty concessions for first home buyers.

First Home Owner Grant and the Home Buyer Concessions ACT

The Australian Capital Territory used to have a program called the “First Home Owner Grant” however this was replaced by the “Home Buyer Concessions” on 1 July 2019.

The Home Buyer Concessions, which started in July 2019, abolishes stamp duty for first home buyers provided they meet the eligibility criteria. This applies to established homes, new homes, and vacant residential land anywhere in the ACT and at any price!

Typically today, non first home buyers (owner-occupiers) will need to pay between $4600 to $22,000 in stamp duty for homes ranging between $300,000 and $1,000,000.

Who is eligible for the ACT Home Buyer Concessions?

To be eligible for the ACT Home Buyer Concessions, the buyers must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • The income of all buyers involved must not exceed than the income thresholds listed in the table below
  • All buyers involved must not have owned other property in the last 2 years
  • At least one buyer must live in the home continuously for at least one year. This is must start within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction.

ACT Home Buyer Concessions Income Thresholds

ACT’s income threshold is based on the number of dependent children the applicants have. Your partner’s income must be included in the threshold calculations even if their name will not be appearing on the home title deeds or mortgage documents. The table below summarises the income thresholds. (2)

NSW

New South Wales offers both a first home owner grant and stamp duty concessions (First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme).

First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme NSW (Updated October 2020)

For first home buyers in NSW, there is a full or partial exemption of stamp duty (transfer duty) depending on the value of the property and the type of property being purchased. It is split into three categories:

  • New Homes
  • Existing Homes
  • Vacant Land

Who is eligible for the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme NSW?

To be eligible, the buyer must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an individual over 18 (not a company or trust)
  • All buyers must have never owned or co-owned a residential property in Australia
  • All buyers must have never received any stamp duty exemption or concession
  • At least one of the first home buyers must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • One of the first home buyers must move into the new home within 12 months after buying the property and live there for at least 6 continuous months.

First Home Buyer NSW - New Home

Eligible first home buyers purchasing a new home will pay no stamp duty on new homes up to $800,000. Buying a new home between $800,000 and $950,000 will make you eligible for a stamp duty discount (instead of a full exemption).

The price thresholds (3) for purchasers of NEW HOMES are as follows:

New Homes Stamp Duty NSW (FHB)

First Home Buyer NSW - Existing Home

Eligible first home buyers purchasing an existing home will pay no stamp duty for property valued up to $650,000. Stamp duty discounts are available for homes purchased at values between $650,001 and $800,000.

The price thresholds (3) for purchasers of EXISTING HOMES are as follows:

NSW Existing Homes Stamp Duty (FHB)

First Home Buyer NSW - Vacant Land

Eligible first home buyers looking to purchase land to build a house on will pay no stamp duty on land valued up to $400,000. Stamp duty discounts apply on land values up to $450,000. The thresholds are as follows:

NSW Vacant Land Stamp Duty (FHB)

First Home Owner Grant - NSW (New Homes only)

NSW also offers a First Home Owner Grant for first home buyers purchasing a new home. The grant is worth $10,000 towards the purchase price of the new home and can be stacked with the NSW First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme.

Who is eligible for the First Home Owner Grant - NSW

To be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant in NSW, the first home buyer must:

  • Be purchasing a new home or building their first home
  • Worth no more than $600,000 for a New Home or $750,000 for a house and land package
  • Be an individual over 18 (not a company or trust)
  • All buyers must have never owned or co-owned a residential property in Australia
  • All buyers must have never received any stamp duty exemption or concession
  • At least one of the first home buyers must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • One of the first home buyers must move into the new home within 12 months after buying the property and live there for at least 6 continuous months.

NT

The Northern Territory has a number of grants, concessions, schemes and discounts for first home buyers. They include:

  • First Home Owner Grant of $10,000
  • BuildBonus Grant of $20,000 to build a new home – recently extended until 31 March 2021
  • Territory Home Owner Discount (stamp duty discount of up to $18,601)
  • Household Goods Grant of up to $2000 to buy household goods
  • Home Renovation Grant of up to $10,000 to renovate your home

SA

South Australia has a First Home Owner Grant of up to $15,000 for new homes only that do not exceed a market value of $575,000. South Australia ceased to offer grants to first home buyers of existing homes.

Unfortunately, South Australia does not have any stamp duty or transfer duty exemption or concessions for first home buyers.

TAS

The Tasmanian state government offers two programs for first home buyers:

  • First Home Owner Grant
  • First Home Owner Duty Concession

First Home Owner Grant - Tasmania

Eligible first home buyers who are either building a new home or purchasing a newly built home may be eligible for a $20,000 grant towards the purchase of the new home.

The eligibility criteria is similar to other states where the buyer(s) must be:

  • An individual over 18 (not a company or trust)
  • Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Must not have owned a property in Australia
  • Must not have received a first home owner grant before
  • Live in the home continuously for at least 6 months within 12 months of completion or the contract date.

First Home Owner Duty Concession - Tasmania

Eligible first home buyers who are purchasing an established home may receive a 50% discount on the stamp duty paid as long as the value of the home does not exceed $400,000.

The same eligibility criteria as the First Home Owner Grant (Tasmania) applies.

QLD

The Queensland state government offers two programs for first home buyers:

  • First home Owner Grant – Queensland of up to $15,000 on homes valued up to $750,000
  • Regional Home Building Boost Grant of $5,000 on the purchase or construction of brand new homes valued less than $750,000
  • First Home Transfer Duty Concession saving up to $15,925 in stamp duty on homes valued up to $550,000
  • First Home Vacant Land Concession saving you up to $7175 for vacant land valued up to $400,000

VIC

The Victorian state government offers the following programs for first home buyers:

  • First Home Owner Grant worth up to $20,000 for newly built or purchased homes valued up to $750,000.
    • If you are buying in regional Victoria, the grant is $20,000
    • If the new home is not in regional Victoria, the grant is $10,000
  • First home buyer duty exemption or concessions
    • For homes valued up to $600,000, an eligible first home buyer will not need to pay any stamp duty
    • For homes value between $600,001 and $750,000, there will be a stamp duty discount
    • There are concessions for buyers purchasing off the plan

WA

In Western Australia, the WA State Government offers two simple programs for first home buyers:

  • First Home Owner Grant – WA. This is for purchasing or building a new home only and the grant is $10,000
  • First Home Owner Rate of Duty (stamp duty waiver/exemption). For first home buyers purchasing property up to $430,000 market value, they will not need to pay any stamp duty. For homes valued between $430,001 and $530,000, there are discounted rates. These only apply if the first home buyer is living in the house as their principal place of residence

What is the maximum amount I can save from the first home buyer rebate and grants?

If you meet all the eligibility criteria of the state that you live in and federal government requirements, you can save up to $67,200 towards the purchase of your first home!

We will use NSW as an example. Assuming you meet the eligibility criteria, you can do the following to save $67,200 on the purchase of your first home (with only $37,500 in the bank!)

  • Purchase a new home (house and land package) valued up to $750,000
    • NSW Stamp Duty exemption will save you around $29,000 in stamp duty fees
    • NSW First Home Owner Grant will give you $10,000 towards the purchase of your new home
    • Federal Government HomeBuilder Grant will provides you $25,000
    • Apply for a loan with a lender who is giving out cash rebates of up to $2000
    • Work with Reservoir Finance as your mortgage broker and get a further rebate of up to $1200
    • Due to the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, you only require a 5% deposit, meaning for this scenario, you only need to save a $37,500 deposit to take advantage of $67,200 worth of savings!

How amazing is that?!

How can Reservoir Finance help me?

As you can see, there are a lot of grants, concessions and schemes for first home buyers. Australia, as an egalitarian society, wants to help other Aussies buy their first home sooner and cheaper. However, there is a lot of fine print for these programs and as a first home buyer, it can be overwhelming. However, there is money to be saved if you meet the eligibility criteria!

Reservoir Finance can help guide you through the property purchase journey all the way from finance to settlement. We love helping first home buyers as we seek to educate and show you all the smart ways you can save money and navigate Australia’s financial system. And the best thing? All of this is at no cost to you!

If you choose to work with us, we will help you with:

  • Financial strategy & loan structuring to help you achieve your goals both short term and long term
  • Borrowing capacity assessment
  • Guiding you through the loan application process
  • Working with you to apply for the grants, concessions and waivers
  • Referrals to our network of professionals (accountants, conveyancers, etc)
  • And more!

We also offer an additional rebate worth up to $1200! (other brokers do not offer this). Fill out the form below or give us a ring today, we would love to speak with you!


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