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Government Incentives for First Home Buyers

For many people, the thought of buying their first home is both exciting and unnerving. It is usually the most significant investment of their life, brought about only after years of extensive saving, but many Australians aren’t aware of the incentives for doing so. In Australia, numerous grants and schemes are available, both national and regional, for first-time property owners ranging from large subsidies to minor concessions.

Many of these are in the form of grants (not repaid) but can also come in the form of a loan and can apply to most forms of property including apartments, townhouses, and vacant lots with the intent to build. All incentives come with strict eligibility criteria, rules, guidelines and application processes that should be understood clearly before applying.

Here you will find details of most popular first home buyer incentives provided by the Australian and state governments and how you can be eligible to make the most out of them.

Types of Government Grants & Schemes 

National grants and schemes generally differ from state-only offered schemes. Some schemes and grants are advanced nationally but vary slightly from state to state. It’s recommended for eligible first home buyers to visit their respective state websites to identify the specific process and guidelines for their location.

National Incentives

The Australian Federal Government has taken many steps to ensure that citizens are receiving fair opportunities to purchase residential property. Nationwide incentives focus on getting people financially stable while saving for a first property, which means helping with savings, loans, and eliminating lenders mortgage insurance. These schemes are the most helpful, which is why they are offered on a national level for most Australians to gain from.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)

The first home owners grant (FHOG) is the most widely available and used national scheme, mainly due to its simplicity and the amount offered. The FHOG is a one-time grant offered to first-time home buyers that are purchasing a newly built home and can be used for buying an apartment, townhouse, house, unit or similar. The amount offered is dependent on the value of the property being purchased and the max grant offered differs in each state, ranging from $10,000 to $30,000.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

The first home loan deposit scheme is an initiative that aims to lower the barrier of entry for first-time home owners. Saving up enough money for the deposit on a home is usually the most significant barrier to home ownership, which this scheme aims to assist with. The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation act as the guarantor for up to 15% of your deposit, allowing you to purchase a home with just a 5% deposit and without need for lenders’ mortgage insurance.

First Home Super Saver Scheme

This initiative allows prospective first-time home buyers to save for their first home using their super fund, reducing the amount of taxes which further helps to save money. Through this scheme, a portion of your retirement savings, or super fund, can be contributed towards owning a home.

The goal is to assist with the deposit on a home, similar to the First Home Deposit Scheme. Saving the money in one’s super savings account makes less of your income taxable, making a significant difference in the amount of savings generated. 

First-time home buyers are allowed to use up to $50,000 of their super fund for the deposit on their home.

Family Home Guarantee [Regardless of First Home Buyer Status]

The Family Home Guarantee is a federal scheme that lets single parents buy a home with only a 2% deposit and no need for lenders’ mortgage insurance. The goal of the scheme is to help families that have separated parents by helping single parents afford a family home. This scheme is available to all single parents, even if they are not a first-time buyer.

Stamp Duty / Transfer Duty Concession [Regardless of First Home Buyer Status]

Stamp duties are the one-time fee that new homeowners must pay for their property. There are different levels of stamp duty concessions and exemptions available.

Firstly, each territory has different transfer duties and therefore different initiatives that help with those fees. Even in the same state, home buyers can be subjected to varying concessions based on their income, marital status, prospective property value, etc.

State Specific Incentives

Each state offers grants and schemes that are funded and run through the local government. The FHOG grant is listed here because although it’s offered nationwide, it also varies by state and should not be treated as one singular national incentive.

Other than the FHOG grant, each territory has limited assistance programs that are only offered in their region. Some of these incentives are used to invigorate the local economy. Transfer fees also have varying concessions and exemptions by the state, so those are listed here.


In addition to the First Home Owners Grant, Victoria offers Stamp Duty exemptions and concessions for eligible citizens. Additionally, the HomesVic is a shared equity scheme that used to run for home buyers in Victoria but is not accepting new applications.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG):

  • Up to a $10,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New Homes Only

Varying Stamp/Transfer Duty Exemptions and Concessions

  • The Victorian Duty Exemptions and Concessions include three different types of concessions including the first home buyer duty exemption and concession, first-home buyer duty reduction and the principal place of residence duty concession, all three of which do not differentiate between a new or established home.

New South Wales

New South Wales (NSW) offers two main incentives – the First Home Owners Grant and the First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)

  • Up to a $10,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New Homes Only

First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme (FHBAS):

  • Stamp/Transfer Duty Exemptions
  • First-Time Buyer
  • New or Existing Homes, including Vacant Land


Similar to Victoria, Queensland (QLD) offers various Stamp Duty exemptions and concessions.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG):

  • Up to a $15,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New Homes Only

Varying Stamp/Transfer Duty Exemptions and Concessions

  • View Queensland’s Transfer Duty Exemptions and Concessions, where the first home owner concession applies to homes valued under $550,000 on which around $8,750 can be collected as a rebate.

Western Australia

Western Australia (WA) offers the Home Buyers Assistance Account, a small grant for first-time buyers, and the First Home Owners Grant.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG):

  • Up to a $10,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New Homes Only
  • Includes Transfer Rate Concession

Home Buyers Assistance Account (HBAA):

  • Up to a $2,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New or Existing Homes, including Vacant Land

South Australia

South Australia (SA) has no incentives other than the First Home Owners Grant, however, South Australians can enjoy a higher grant from the Australian Federal Government.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG):

  • Up to a $15,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New Homes Only


Tasmanians have an increased First Home Owners Grant and access to the Tasmanian HomeBuilder Grant.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG): 

  • Up to a $30,000 Grant
  • First-Time Buyers
  • New Homes Only

Tasmanian HomeB​​uilder Grant:

  • Up to a $20,000 Grant
  • New Homes Only

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory is exempt from the First Home Owners Grant. However, there are still incentives for first-time homeowners in the ACT.

  • No First Home Owners Grant
  • All First Home Buyers Exempt from Stamp Duty

Who Is Eligible for First Homeowners Grants and Incentives?

The specific numbers can vary slightly in different territories but some criteria are the same amongst all schemes. The eligibility requirements to be met for applicants include:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Buying as a residential property – it cannot be bought as an investment property
  • Have not previously owned a home in Australia
  • Be a person [companies and corporations do not qualify]
  • Move into the house within 12 months of construction or purchase

Additionally, the following factors might determine the amount received:

  • The purchase price or value of the property
  • The state in which the property is located

It is worth noting that the FHOG is not means tested, simply meaning that it does not consider an individual’s income.  

How to Apply for a First Home Owners’ Grant?

The individual application and process can vary depending on the scheme, but most often, an approved agent or the State Revenue Office will process them [the approved agent can also fill out the application form on your behalf]. For most grants and schemes there are different levels of assistance offered based on various factors at play, including but not limited to yearly income, marital status, and the eventual property value. It is vital to double-check the specific scheme offered by your respective state.

Applying for the First Home Owners Grant

The FHOG is the most common grant for first-time property buyers, but less than 20% of submitted applications aren’t lodged correctly or are missing documents. To ensure that your documents are in order on the first application, make sure to have:

  • Contract of Sale (Must be Certified)
  • Building Permit or Domestic Building Insurance Certificate
  • Certificate of Occupancy
  • Vendor Statement Confirming the Property has never been occupied
  • Verified Australian Identification (Birth Certificate, Citizenship Certificate, Passport)
  • Married, Divorced, Widowed, etc. Documentation (Must be Certified)

Application Outcome 

There tends to be confusion about when the FHOG grant gets paid out and can vary based on the type of property ownership [new home purchase, contracting to build a home, or an owner builder] and can be paid out to individuals on either the time of settlement, the time of first progressive payment, or when the certificate of occupancy is received [once the home buyers move into their newly purchased home].

It is recommended to reach out to approved agents [e.g. banks or credit unions] for lodgement and to only apply to the State Office if there is no agent available to apply on your behalf. Lodging directly with the State Revenue Office could mean that the money is received 1-2 weeks later than it would be if applied under an approved agent, but it will still process at the date of occupation. Occupants must maintain occupancy for at least 12 months.

If your first home buyer application is rejected but you have reason to believe it should be accepted it is best to write to your respective state government to review the application again with any updated pieces of information.

A Step Closer to Home

Purchasing a home is a daunting task, but especially so when it is your first time. Trying to sort through all the different processes and regulations makes it easy to get overwhelmed. First-time home buyers deserve all the help they can get while exploring options for first-home buyer benefits. If this guide doesn’t answer every question for your specific case, your real estate agent, or your local and federal government offices can assist with any further queries you may have. 

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