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First home buyers in Australia

Despite what you might have heard on social media or from your co-workers, things are starting to look a bit better for first home buyers in Australia. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data (ABS) covering December 2023, lending to first home buyers occupied a market share of 38%. 

Australian First Home Owner Grants (FHOG) were first introduced in July 2000 through a national scheme separately legislated, funded and administered by the different states and territories. The purpose? To provide a one-off payment to prospective first home buyers to help them break into the property market.

Is it really that easy? Let’s explore.


How much is the First Home Owner Grant?

At the time of writing, every state and territory in Australia apart from the ACT offers some form of a FHOG. Read on to see how much you can get from the grant and any eligibility criteria that may apply.

First home owners grant NSW

In New South Wales, the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) Scheme is valued to the tune of $10,000 for new properties valued up to $600,000 and combined land purchases and home builds up to $750,000.

Eligible homes can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar that is newly built, purchased off the plan or substantially renovated.

To apply for the New South Wales New Homes Scheme or to learn more, visit the NSW Government’s site.

First home owners grant VIC

In Victoria, first home buyers buying or building a new home can be eligible for a $10,000 First Home Owner Grant, if the contract was signed on or after 1 July 2013 and the property is valued up to $750,000 or less.

The FHOG in Victoria is not available for those looking to buy an investment property or holiday home.

Visit the State Revenue Office of Victoria for more information. 

First home owners grant QLD

Until June 2025, the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant will provide $30,000 towards an eligible first home owner’s purchase if they’re buying or building a new house, unit, or townhouse worth less than $750,000.

That was doubled in late 2023, with those who signed contracts before November 2023 potentially able to receive $15,000.

Visit the Queensland Government for more information on the First Home Owner’s Grant and how you can apply.

First home owners grant WA

In WA, first home buyers can receive up to $10,000 towards buying or building new homes or those that have undergone substantial renovations – it is no longer available for established properties.

The maximum value of the property that can be purchased with the grant depends on the property’s location. For example, homes in the Perth metropolitan area (south of the 26th parallel) must not be valued at more than $750,000, while houses north of the 26th parallel can be valued at up to $1 million.

Visit the Western Australian Government’s Department of Finance site for more information on how to apply. 

First home owners grant SA 

South Australia offers a $15,000 grant to first home buyers building or purchasing new homes.

If the contract for the home was entered into before mid-June 2023, it must have a value of $575,000 or less. If the contract was signed after 15 June 2023, the house build must not cost more than $650,000.

The South Australian Department of Revenue and Finance has more details on how you can apply. 

First home owners grant TAS

The Tasmanian Government will provide first home buyers with a $30,000 grant until 30 June 2024, provided they purchase or build a new home, not an established one. Unlike other states, Tasmania does not place a limit on the purchase price of the property. 

The State Revenue Office of Tasmania provides more detailed information. 

First home owners grant ACT

Australian Capital Territory first home buyer grants ended in 2019, and was replaced by valuable savings on stamp duty (see below), which is also called the Home Buyer Concession Scheme. Visit the ACT Revenue Office for more information.

First home owners grant NT

The Northern Territory offers a grant of $10,000 towards buying or building a new home. Unlike a majority of the other states, income and house value does not affect your eligibility to apply for the grant.

Check out nt.gov.au for more information.  

First Home Owner Grant eligibility 

Although the eligibility criteria for each state and territory will be slightly different, you will typically need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are over 18
  • You or your spouse must never have owned a property in Australia prior to 1 July 2000
  • You have not received a first home owner grant in any State or Territory
  • You need to live in the home (as an owner-occupier) for a continuous period of at least 6 months
  • At least one applicant is a permanent resident or Australian citizen

You also need to be an actual human person and not a company or trust, so make sure you aren’t one of those before applying.  

First home owners stamp duty concessions

In recent years, stamp duty costs – the transfer tax you pay when purchasing a property or vacant land – have increased significantly.

For example, a $500,000 owner-occupied dwelling in New South Wales will set non-first home buyers back more than $17,000 in stamp duty fees based on current regulations. 

To alleviate this cost, the different states and territories offer stamp duty concessions to prospective new home buyers.

Of course, these reductions and discounts assume you already meet the eligibility criteria, which we’ll discuss below. There are also broader stamp duty concessions available to regular buyers too.

At the time of writing, these are the concessions available to first home buyers:

Calculate your stamp duty

State Stamp duty concessions
New South Wales

No stamp duty on properties up to $800,000 and vacant land up to $350,000.

Discounted stamp duty for properties between $800,000-$1,00,000 and vacant land between $350,000 and $450,000. 

Victoria

No stamp duty on properties up to $800,000 and vacant land up to $350,000.

Discounted stamp duty for properties between $800,000-$1,00,000 and vacant land between $350,000 and $450,000. 

Queensland

Stamp duty on properties valued at under $500,000 or vacant land under $400,000.

Concessional stamp duty applied to properties worth between $500,000 and $550,000.

Western Australia

No stamp duty on properties up to $430,000 and land up to $300,000.

Discounted stamp duty on properties between $430,000 and $530,000 and vacant land between $300,000 and $400,000.

South Australia

No stamp duty for homes valued at up to $650,000 or vacant land valued at up to $400,000.

Discounted stamp duty if the value of a property is below $700,000 or the value of vacant land is less than $450,000.

Tasmania

If you buy or build a new home, you’re eligible for the First Home Owner Grant, but cannot receive stamp duty concessions.

On the other hand, if you buy an established home, you may be eligible for savings on stamp duty, but cannot claim the First Home Owner Grant.

You can receive a 50% discount on stamp duty on established homes up to $600,000.

ACT

Under the new Home Buyer Concession Scheme, stamp duty waivers are available up to a maximum amount ($34,504 for financial year 2024), for applicants who earn below a certain amount ($160,000 per household) for properties up to $1,000,000.

See the link above for more detailed information.

Northern Territory At the time of writing, the Northern Territory doesn’t offer stamp duty concessions to first home buyers.

What is the First Home Guarantee Scheme?

Under the Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS), first home buyers can purchase a home with a deposit as low as 2%, without the need to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This means you can borrow up to 98% of the property value, with the federal government providing the lender with a guarantee of up to 18% of the property’s value.

The HGS encompasses three specific guarantees: The First Home Guarantee, the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee, and the Family Home Guarantee.

The scheme offers 35,000 places for Aussies across the country until 30 June, 2025.

First home buyers taking advantage of the scheme must abide by specific price caps on the property they purchase.

Using first home owners grant as deposit

If you are eligible for the grant, then the injection of cash can potentially make a difference to your ability to buy a home.

According to CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index, the median home price across the country in February, 2024 is around $765,000. Remember, property prices can be higher or lower depending on where you live. Adelaide, for example, has a median home price of roughly $730,000, whereas Sydney’s average home will set you back over $1.1 million.

While cutting down on eating out, coffee, electricity, and other luxury items is seen as the best course of action by some, it isn’t always that easy. For a young couple, it could take a decade to save enough to garner a 20% deposit.

This is where either the First Home Owner Grant or the HGS can come in handy. If you’re hoping to save a 20% deposit for a $600,000 house – $120,000 – then a contribution of as much as $30,000 from your state government could seriously speed up the process. Likewise, utilising the HGS to minimise the deposit you need from $120,000 to as little as $12,000 (2%) could also make it much easier to make that first step. 

Does anyone actually use the First Home Owners Grant? 

It would seem that, yes, lots of aspiring first home buyers use the first home owners grants. 

Using data from the NSW and Victorian revenue offices and comparing it to ABS’ lending indicators for first home buyers, we can see how many people actually used the grants across Victoria and NSW over financial year 2022-23 as a percentage of total buyers. 

First home buyer grants & commitments

New South Wales

Victoria 

First home buyer loan commitments (2022/23)

25,018

32,911

First home owner grants issued (2022/23)

3,189 

11,351

% of grants to home loan commitments

12%

34%

Source: ABS Lending Indicators data, Victoria State Revenue Office, Revenue NSW.

So based on this data, first home owners grants are still pretty widely used, with about a quarter of first home buyers using them between the two states.

Victorian first home buyers appear to have a higher grant usage rate, which may have something to do with the state’s higher thresholds for eligibility, with buyers able to spend as much as $750,000 on a newly built property and home builds and still receive the grant.

That’s compared to NSW’s $600,000 threshold for the purchase of newly built property, or its equal threshold of $750,000 for those buying land and building upon it.

It’s also worth noting that property is typically more expensive in Sydney than it is in Melbourne, with the cities offering respective median dwelling values of approximately $1.1 million and $780,000 as of February 2024, according to CoreLogic data. Thus, it might be easier for first home buyers to constrain the cost of their property purchase in Victoria.


What is a first home buyer loan?

While some lenders offer home loans specifically marketed towards first home buyers, there isn’t really such thing as a ‘first home buyer loan’ – first home buyers simply take out regular owner-occupier home loans. But there are some specific things a first home buyer might want to seek out when searching for a good value home loan, such as:

Compare First Home Buyer Loans

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
$2,408
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$530
70%
Featured Online ExclusiveUp To $4K Cashback
  • Immediate cashback upon settlement
  • $2,000 for loans up to $700,000
  • $4,000 for loans over $700,000
5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
$2,396
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$0
80%
Featured Apply In Minutes
  • No application or ongoing fees. Annual rate discount
  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
6.14% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
$2,434
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$250
60%
Featured Unlimited Redraws
  • No annual fees - None!
  • Get fast pre-approval
  • Unlimited additional repayments free of charge
  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
  • Home loan specialists available today
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
$2,408
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$530
90%
4.6 Star Customer Ratings
6.14% p.a.
6.39% p.a.
$2,434
Principal & Interest
Variable
$248
$350
70%
Flexible Home Loan Options
  • $0 application fee & fast turnaround times
  • Estimate your borrowing power in as little as 1 minute
6.19% p.a.
6.21% p.a.
$2,447
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$250
80%
  • Home loan specialists available today
6.35% p.a.
6.26% p.a.
$2,489
Principal & Interest
Fixed
$0
$350
80%
6.59% p.a.
7.68% p.a.
$2,552
Principal & Interest
Fixed
$395
$0
70%
6.69% p.a.
7.06% p.a.
$2,578
Principal & Interest
Variable
$395
$200
80%
6.84% p.a.
6.88% p.a.
$2,618
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$0
95%
6.84% p.a.
7.06% p.a.
$2,618
Principal & Interest
Fixed
$0
$160
80%
5.99% p.a.
6.51% p.a.
$2,589
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$530
90%
More home loans
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

First home buyer loan features

Interest rates

By far the biggest cost factor of a home loan is the interest rate. You only have to spend a few minutes on one of our calculators to see that having a home loan with an interest rate that’s a single percentage point higher than another home loan’s (e.g. 5% instead of 4%) can cost you tens of thousands of dollars extra in interest over the life of the loan.

Of course, not everyone can qualify for the lowest interest rate on the market. Your interest rate is often determined by a range of factors, including your LVR (loan-to-value ratio), credit rating, income, expenses, suburb etc.

So to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for a low interest rate, you should aim to have at least a 20% deposit (putting your LVR at 80%), have a good track record of paying bills on time and managing your spending, and avoid buying in suburbs that are at risk of price falls (e.g. buying an apartment in an area where lots of other apartment buildings are under construction).

Fees

While its the biggest expense, the interest rate isn’t the only thing that’ll cost you. Most home loans include upfront and ongoing fees, as well as incidental fees, such as the extra costs of lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) or refinancing. A helpful guide to the relative cost of a home loan is its comparison rate, which takes the upfront and ongoing fees into account on top of the interest rate. So if a home loan’s comparison rate is significantly higher than its advertised interest rate, you might expect high fees.

Features

Flexible features such as an offset account or redraw facility can help first home buyers save thousands in interest over the life of the loan and potentially allow them to pay it off sooner. Such features may come with added fees or lead a buyer to sign up to a loan with a higher interest rate, but given the savings they could help generate, they may be worth the extra cost.

Guarantor

If you’re really struggling to cough up the dough for a deposit, you can always speak to someone (usually your parents) about whether they’d consider going guarantor for your home loan.

A guarantor acts as a guardian angel for both you and your lender. They sign an agreement essentially stating that they will be responsible for the loan in the event that you’re unable to service it, protecting both parties from a default. Having this safety net can help you secure a home loan with a small deposit, exempt you from having to pay LMI, or even qualify you for a lower interest rate.

Obviously going guarantor isn’t something to be taken lightly, as it’s a huge responsibility. However, if you have someone that’s willing, you should seek out a home loan that will accept them as a guarantor. While most lenders allow guarantors, they often have restrictions around who can act as one. For instance, most do not allow non-family members to go guarantor.


Savings.com.au’s two cents

Don’t feel too helpless if you’re struggling to buy your dream first home. A first home buyer grant is one of several sources of assistance. Other options include the First Home Super Saver Scheme, the Help to Buy Scheme, using a guarantor, and the Home Guarantee Scheme.

But keep in mind that government grants and concessions are subject to the ever-changing nature of state budgets and legislation, so don’t hang your hat on them. You should aim to save enough to be able to buy a property without a grant, so that it merely serves as an added bonus.    

While the information in this article is accurate at the time of writing, it is subject to change. Check your state government’s website to see what the grant requirements are and what changes are in the works.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility for a first home owner grant (FHOG) will depend on the state or territory you live in. But to give you a general idea, eligibility criteria typically includes:

  • Being an Australian citizen
  • Being at least 18 years old
  • You must intend on living in the property (owner occupier)
  • You can apply as a couple but you must be de facto or married
  • You must be a first home buyer

If you’re thinking about applying for the FHOG, visit your state or territory’s website for more details and eligibility requirements.

There are a number of grants and incentives geared towards helping first home buyers purchase their first home. To give you a quick overview of the government assistance that may be available to you, grants and incentives could include:

  • Home Guarantee Scheme: Allows you to buy your first home (doesn’t have to be brand new) with a deposit of as little as 2% to 5% without paying LMI.

  • Help to Buy Scheme: an equity contribution of up to 40% of the home’s cost for as many as 40,000 eligible home buyers.

  • First Home Super Saver Scheme: Allows first home buyers to make the most of their super fund, helping them accelerate the deposit-saving-process by reducing their income tax and offering a deemed rate of return.

  • First home owner grants: One-off payment to help eligible first home buyers purchase their first home.

  • Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee: From October 2022 to June 2025, 10,000 guarantees each year will help first-home buyers purchase a regional home with as little as a 5% deposit without having to pay LMI.

While not specifically for first home buyers, you could potentially look into the Family Home Guarantee Scheme, which allows single-parent families to purchase a home with as little as a 2% deposit.

As a first home buyer, you may be able to purchase a home with a deposit as low as 5%. Some lenders will offer home loans with a 95% loan-to-value ratio (LVR), meaning you only need to have a 5% deposit. Typically, these loans are less common and can come with a higher interest rate. Some lenders also offer 85 to 90% LVR home loans, meaning you need a 15 to 10% deposit to purchase respectively.

However, purchasing with a deposit of less than 20% typically means you need to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). But as a first home buyer, there are government grants and incentives that can allow you to purchase a home with as little as a 5% deposit without needing to pay LMI.