Queensland first home buyer grants explained

author-avatar By on June 11, 2021
Queensland first home buyer grants explained

With property prices at record highs all around the country, first home buyers can be forgiven for finding it tough to buy their dream home.

Thanks to some government grants and schemes, Queensland buyers looking to enter the market for the first time can receive a bit of a cash boost. In this article we’ll go through how the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) works in the Sunshine State, as well as:

  • How much you can get from it
  • How to apply for the grant
  • Whether you can get stamp duty discounts, and how much you could save on stamp duty
  • The other schemes first home buyers can use, such as the New Home Guarantee and the First Home Super Saver Scheme

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner-occupiers. 

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%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.

Queensland first home buyers: by the numbers

Queensland is the third-biggest state by population, so it isn’t surprising to see a similar proportion of first home buyers (FHBs) there.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) lending data, 2020 saw over 137,500 new owner-occupied housing loans granted to first home buyers at an average of more than 11,400 per month.

That same data shows about 28,600 of those loans over the year were for Queensland first home buyers (about 21%). Respectively, NSW and Victoria represent around 24% and 30% of Australia’s first home buyer loans.

The QLD first home owner grant

First home buyers in Queensland can get the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant (QFHOG), a cash grant that can be used for buying or building a newly established dwelling (houses, units, townhouses etc).

This grant is reasonably popular in Queensland: there were over 21,000 new first home buyer loans recorded in the state during the 2019/20 financial year and about 6,000 QFHOG payments (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland Government). That’s around 29%, or almost a third of FHBs there. In comparison, these percentages are 24% and 44% in NSW and Victoria, respectively.

Here are some key things to know about the Queensland First Home Owner Grant.

How much can you get from the QLD grant?

Queensland first home buyers can get a cash grant of $15,000 from the State Government, usually paid at settlement of your home or on the first drawdown of funds when constructing one. This grant is only available per household, so it’s not possible for both yourself and a partner to get the $15,000 each.

As mentioned, it’s only available for newly established homes, so existing ones will disqualify you.

What are the price limits for the grant?

To be eligible for this $15,000 grant, QLD FHBs must be buying or building a new house, unit or townhouse worth less than $750,000. This includes the value of the land.

How do you qualify?

Besides the price cap, there are a number of eligibility conditions first home buyers in QLD have to meet before they can get this $15,000:

  • Each applicant must be at least 18
  • You must be a person, not a company or trust
  • At least one applicant must be a permanent resident or Australian citizen
  • Neither applicant can have owned a property at any point before 1 July 2000
  • You must live in the home for the first 12 months after settlement
  • The home must be new

According to the Queensland Government’s eligibility tester, a ‘new home’ is one that has not previously been occupied or sold as a place of residence, or has been ‘substantially renovated’.

How do you apply?

To receive the $15,000 grant, you must apply within one year of your title on the home being registered or within one year of the home build’s completion, with extensions available upon request. To submit an application for the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant, you can do so through either an approved bank or lender or with the Office of State Revenue (by post or email).

Either way, you’ll need to fill out the Queensland Treasury’s First Home Owners' Grant application form PDF and attach the usual supporting documents:

  • 100 points of ID (driver’s license, birth certificate, domestic or foreign passport etc.)
  • Other ID categories, such as your Medicare card and proof of your current address, like a utility bill
  • A copy of your building contract if you’re buying vacant land
  • A list of renovations if you’ve bought an existing property and substantially renovated it

And more. You can also email your application to fhogadmin@treasury.qld.gov.au, and you should receive a response within 10 business days.

For more information on the QFHOG, check the Queensland Government’s website.

Can you use the grant for a deposit?

Yes, your first home owner's grant can be used as a deposit, but chances are the one-off $15,000 will not be enough, and you’ll still need several tens of thousands more. Remember, to avoid the high cost of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), you’ll often need a deposit of at least 20%, and lenders will still want to see that you’ve genuinely saved up for most of the deposit yourself.

Given the grant is actually paid at different times in Queensland, the State Government says “it’s best not to count on using the grant as a deposit.”

Can first home buyers get stamp duty discounts in Queensland?

Stamp duty is one of the most expensive upfront costs when buying a property, easily costing five figures in many cases. But fortunately for Queensland FHBs, the Queensland FHOG can also make stamp duty more affordable.

QLD stamp duty concessions for first home buyers

Queensland FHBs are exempt from stamp duty for homes valued under $550,000 and vacant land under $400,000. On a case-by-case basis, it’s also possible to waive your stamp duty costs if the property is above these amounts.

There is also a home concession that applies to non-first home buyers too. Under the home concession, Queenslanders can claim concessions on the first $350,000 of the property’s value as long as they live in the home daily for the first year after settlement. The discount you can get here varies - see the Queensland Government for more information.

You can also read our state-by-state breakdown of stamp duty concessions and exemptions and our article on what stamp duty costs in every state, not just Queensland.

How much is stamp duty in QLD?

The Queensland Government’s calculator shows stamp duty on the median price for an existing property in Queensland ($535,618, according to CoreLogic) would be $9,999.50 without any concessions. But on the average FHB loan size of $451,516, a first-time buyer in Queensland would pay $0 for stamp duty thanks to these concessions.

Can you use both of these schemes?

Yes, FHBs in Queensland can use both the first home owner grant and the stamp duty concessions together. The criteria to qualify for both are similar, and this can lead to even bigger discounts.

What other QLD schemes and grants can first home buyers use?

First home buyers in Queensland can also combine several other schemes with both the FHOG and stamp duty concessions. Combining multiple schemes and grants to buy your home can provide tens of thousands of dollars in savings.

The New Home Guarantee

Formerly known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS), the New Home Guarantee provides up to 10,000 first home buyers each year with Federal Government support to buy a home. Under this scheme, these first home buyers can buy a house with just a 5% deposit while the government will provide the lender with a guarantee of up to 15% (like a promise to pay the lender this amount in the event the buyer fails to repay the loan) to ensure the lender doesn’t force the borrower to pay for LMI.

Available from 27 specific lenders, this scheme is subject to price caps, availability, and is now limited to new builds only. The New Home Guarantee has proven to be very in-demand, with about one-eighth of all first home buyers who purchased a home between March and June 2020 doing so using the scheme.

The Family Home Guarantee

The 'Family Home Guarantee' allows 10,000 single parents (over four years, or 2,500 per year) to secure a home loan with as little as a 2% deposit (without having to pay LMI) through a government guarantee of up to 18%. It was introduced in the 2021/22 Federal Budget.

This 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 loans no longer than 30 years.  

The First Home Super Saver Scheme

The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) allows you to make additional voluntary concessional (taxed at a discounted rate of 15%) and non-concessional (already taxed at your marginal rate) contributions into your superannuation. Up to $15,000 per year and $50,000 overall can be contributed per person, meaning you can withdraw these funds at a later date to be used as a deposit.

This scheme is generally much more tax-effective than saving through a bank account, but so far only 18,492 people (about 6,000 per year) have used it, making it much less popular than the first home owner grants or the New Home Guarantee.

Savings.com.au’s two cents

Despite soaring property prices in a lot of places in Queensland, there is help available if you’re trying to buy your dream home for the first time. Not only can the Queensland First Home Owner Grant give you a $15,000 boost, but you can save up to $55,000 or so when you also combine this grant with stamp duty concessions (around $10,000), the New Home Guarantee/Family Home Guarantee (saving up to $15,000 in LMI costs), and the FHSSS (offers tax savings of up to $15,000).

If you’re not sure how you can find the right property to take advantage of all these schemes, try consulting someone like a mortgage broker or buyer’s agent, or get in touch with a home loan specialist at your lender of choice. These experts can help guide you through the process.


Photo via Brisbane City Council, Flickr

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Great Southern Bank, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

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William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research firm Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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