Saving up for a first home in New South Wales is not without its challenges as the state is widely considered the most expensive for property in Australia. But to ease some of the financial burden, there are a number of helping hands in the form of government schemes to help you achieve the great Australian dream sooner.

The New South Wales government provides a number of support schemes for first home buyers looking to enter the property market including its First Home Owner Grant and First Home Buyer Assistance schemes. Let's check the details.

How the First Home Owner Grant works in NSW

The NSW First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) provides $10,000 for a newly built house, townhouse, or apartment valued up to $600,000.

If you purchase vacant land and sign a contract with a builder, the total combined value of the land plus the contract (including the value of any variations) must not exceed $750,000.

To be eligible, the home must not have been previously sold or occupied. This means the scheme automatically excludes established properties.

The FHOG can be used towards your deposit but given it's only $10,000, it likely won't be enough to cover a full deposit and you'll have to come up with the rest out of your savings. To avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), you'll have to come up with a 20% deposit and lenders will still want to see that you've genuinely saved most of the deposit.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty, or transfer duty, is a state-based tax and is a major barrier to first-time buyers across Australia - NSW is no exception. However, first home buyers in NSW can qualify for stamp duty relief - or complete exemption - through the First Home Buyer Assistance scheme.

The scheme provides a total exemption from stamp duty for properties valued at $800,000 or less while a concessional rate applies for others, depending on their value. This applies to existing homes as well as new homes and vacant land.

Here is a guide to the exemptions or concessions which apply on or after 1 July 2023:

Property value

Exemption

New and existing homes

Value is equal to or less than $800,000

Exempt

You can apply for a full exemption from transfer duty.

Value is above $800,000 and less than $1 million

Concessional rate

You can apply for a concessional transfer duty rate.

Vacant land

Value is equal to or less than $350,000

Exempt

You can apply for a full exemption from transfer duty.

Value is above $350,000 and less than $450,000

Concessional rate

You can apply for a concessional transfer duty rate.

*As at May 2024

The NSW Department of Revenue's First Home Buyers Assistance calculator will give you a guide as to the concessional rate you may be entitled to. Also, see the NSW Department of Revenue for more information on the scheme, and exemptions and concessions that apply to homes purchased in earlier time periods.

What homes can be purchased using the FHOG?

To take advantage of the FHOG in NSW, eligible homes can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar that is newly built, purchased off the plan, or substantially renovated. The grant is not available for those looking to buy an investment property or holiday home.

First Home Owner Grant eligibility

There are a number of conditions first home buyers in NSW must meet before they can be deemed eligible to receive the NSW FHOG of $10,000.

These include:

  • You must be an individual, not a company or trust

  • You must be at least 18 years of age

  • You, or at least one person you're buying with, must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

  • You and your spouse must not previously have owned a home in Australia or received an Australian First Home Owner Grant

  • You'll need to live in your first home for at least six months within 12 months of buying or completion of construction

You may still be eligible for the FHOG in NSW if you've previously owned a residential property, but you haven't lived in it for more than six months.

If you are unsure whether you qualify for the NSW FHOG, you can use this online resource to assess your eligibility.

Applying for the First Home Owner Grant

If you require the grant for settlement or first drawn down/progress payment, you must lodge your application with the approved agent who is providing you with finance.

Applying through NSW Department of Revenue

Other applicants must lodge within 12 months of settlement or the completed construction date of their new home. If you leave it longer than that, you will need to provide additional documents.

Applying through an Agent

If you're applying through an approved agent, you'll need to complete the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) Application form. The agent will lodge your application form on your behalf after you have ticked the declaration box, printed your name clearly, and dated the form.

To apply for the First Home Owner Grant through your bank or financial institution when you're arranging your finance, you'll need to supply some supporting documents with your application form. These include:

  • A copy of your land sale contract (dated and signed by the vendor)

  • A title search that shows you as the registered proprietor of the land

  • A statement from the vendor or their legal representative as evidence that the house hasn't been occupied since the completion of construction

  • If choosing to construct your home on vacant land, you will need to provide evidence of the total value of the property

Competitive home loan rates

If you're a first home buyer looking for a competitive home loan, the table below features some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

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
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.

Other schemes to NSW First Home Owner Grant

As well as the state schemes, there are a number of federal programs that can also be accessed by eligible home buyers. These include:

First Home Guarantee

The First Home Guarantee (FHBG) is an Australian government incentive for first home buyers looking to purchase their first home. The scheme offers first home buyers the ability to purchase a home with a deposit as low as 5%, without the need to pay Lenders' Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This means you can borrow up to 95% of the property value, with the federal government providing the lender with a guarantee of up to 15%.

The FHBG is administered by Housing Australia on behalf of the Australian government, offering 35,000 places for Aussies across the country each financial year until 30 June 2025.

Regional First Home Guarantee

The Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee Scheme is identical to the First Home Guarantee, except it is designed to target first home buyers in regional Australia.

With the Regional First Home Guarantee, first home buyers can take advantage of 10,000 guarantees to help purchase a regional home with as little as 5% loan deposit without having to pay LMI. This means you can borrow up to 95% of the property value, with the federal government guaranteeing up to 15%.

Family Home Guarantee

The Family Home Guarantee allows 5,000 single parents each year to qualify for a home loan with as little as a 2% deposit without having to pay LMI. The government will guarantee up to 18%.

The scheme is available to previous owner-occupiers as well as first home buyers; has a maximum annual income cap of $125,000; must be for principal & interest (P&I) repayments and for loan terms no longer than 30 years.

Read more about state First Home Owner/Buyer Grants in other Australian states:

Article first published 11 June 2021. Last updated 27 May 2024.

Photo by Lynda Hinton on Unsplash





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