WA First home buyer grants explained

author-avatar By on July 27, 2021
WA First home buyer grants explained

If you’re a Western Australian (WA) resident looking to buy your first home, the government has financial support available.

After experiencing several quiet years, there are signs the WA property market is heating up. According to CoreLogic, dwelling in values in Perth rose 1.1% in May 2021 alone, taking the median value to $521,688. Values in the WA capital rose 9.8% over the 20/21 financial year, while regional WA values lifted 2.2%.

First home buyer activity hit record highs in WA over the past year. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there was a record-high 2,579 new loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers in March 2021, with this activity marginally subsiding in recent months.

If you’re looking to buy a home for the first time in the wildflower state, here’s a breakdown of the government financial assistance available:


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.


The WA First Home Owner Grant

Launched in October 2008 as the First Home Owner Boost, the WA First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is designed to provide a helping hand to first home buyers. The scheme has ramped up in popularity in the last year, with applications 157% higher in November of last year, relative to a year earlier. A total of 1,322 FHOG applications were received in the month, slightly lower than October, but applications in both months were at their highest level since 2009. Applications have subsided in recent months but remain high, with 1,177 grants paid in May.

How much can you get from the WA grant?

The WA First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is a one-off $10,000 payment to first home buyers purchasing or building a new residential home. It is not available for established homes, vacant land, or for renovations to an existing home. A home that has been substantially renovated may be considered a new home.

The grant is not means-tested so your income won’t affect your eligibility for the grant.

What are the price limits for the grant?

Price limits for the WA FHOG are dependent on what suburb you’re buying a home in. If the property or land is:

  • South of the 26th parallel, the price limit is $750,000.

  • North of the 26th parallel, the price limit is $1,000,000.

The 26th parallel is a line of latitude located at Shark Bay on the WA coast. All Perth metropolitan areas are south of it.

The total value of a transaction comes down to the type of transaction:

  • For off the plan purchases or new homes, it is the greater of:

    • the consideration for the contract to purchase, or

    • the unencumbered value.

  • For contracts to build, it is the total of the consideration for the contract to build and the unencumbered value of the land.

  • For an owner-builder, it is the total value of the home and land at the date the transaction is completed.

How do you qualify?

To qualify for the WA FHOG you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.

  • Have at least one applicant be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

  • Not have received any other FHOG grants or stamp duty exemptions anywhere in Australia

  • Not have owned any residential property before

  • Reside in the property as your principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six months, within 12 months of settlement or date of building completion.

How do you apply for the WA first home owner grant?

To apply for the WA FHOG you will need to fill out an FHOG Application Form found on the RevenueWA website. Applications can be submitted through the site or an approved agent. Approved agents are institutions authorised to process applications, which typically includes most home loan lenders. Usually, you would lodge your application through the lender you’re borrowing from.

You can apply once a contract has been signed and dated by all parties to buy or build a new home, or when the foundations have been laid if you’re an owner-builder. Applications must be made within 12 months of the completion of the eligible transaction.

When filling out the application form, you’ll be required to provide a number of documents, including:

  • Evidence of citizenship or permanent residency (birth certificate, passport, citizenship certification).

  • 100 points of identification (drivers license, passport, proof of age card).

  • Evidence you reside in Australia (Medicare card, debit/credit card, vehicle registration).

  • Copy of the contract for the purchase of the home (if buying a new home or off the plan).

  • Contract to build a home (if building).

  • Certificate of title and evidence of building costs (if an owner-builder).

When will the grant be paid?

When the grant will be paid comes down to the type of transaction and how you applied. You can find the details in the table below:

Type of transaction

Applying through:

Payment of grant

Purchase of a new or off the plan home

Approved agent

At date of settlement by approved agent.

Purchase of a new or off the plan home

RevenueWA

After you have provided evidence to RevenueWA that your name has been registered on the certificate of title of the property (approximately three to six weeks after settlement).

Contract to build

Approved agent or RevenueWA

After you or the approved agent has provided evidence of the date of first construction progress payment and the applicant’s name is registered on the certificate of title of the property.

Owner builder

Approved agent or RevenueWA

After you or the approved agent has provided evidence that the home is ready for occupation as a place of residence and your name is registered on the certificate of title of the property.

Source: RevenueWA

Can you use the grant for a deposit?

You can use the WA FHOG for a deposit but at $10,000, it’s unlikely to be enough to purchase a home on its own. To avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), borrowers generally need to fork out a 20% deposit. Using the Perth median value of $521,688, a 20% deposit would require you to come up with $104,337. So the WA FHOG wouldn’t even cover 10% of a 20% deposit. Some lenders will let you buy with a 5% deposit, which comes to $26,084 using the median Perth dwelling value. The WA FHOG would be a fair chunk of that but then consider you’d also have to pay LMI, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Can first home buyers get stamp duty discounts in WA?

First home buyers can get stamp duty discounts in WA, depending on how much their property costs. Known as the first homeowner rate of duty (FHOD), you may be eligible if:

  • You qualify for an FHOG

  • You would have qualified for the grant if it was available for established homes

The FHOD allows you to be exempt from paying stamp duty if your property has a value of less than $430,000. For properties valued between $430,001 and $530,000, you’ll pay a discounted rate of $19.19 per $100 above $430,000. Properties valued above $530,000 won’t receive any discount and will be charged stamp duty at the full residential rate. For reference, properties valued between $360,001 and $725,000 will typically be charged $11,115 plus $4.75 per $100 above $360,000.

You can apply for pre-approval for the FHOD using the same application form as the FHOG.

Can you get both of these schemes?

First home buyers can take advantage of both the WA FHOG and FHOD. In fact, you can apply for both of them at the same time.

How much is stamp duty in WA?

Using the Perth median value of $521,688, RevenueWA estimates you would pay $18,796 in stamp duty on a property of that price.


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

In addition to the WA FHOG, there are a number of Federal Government grants available to first home buyers.

The New Home Guarantee

Launched on 1 January 2020, the New Home Guarantee, formerly known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme allows first home buyers to secure a home loan with as little as a 5% deposit. The federal government will provide the lender with a guarantee of up to 15%, allowing borrowers using the scheme to avoid paying LMI. The Guarantee is limited to 10,000 loans for Aussie first home buyers each year on a first in, first-served basis.

The Family Home Guarantee

The Family Home Guarantee was announced in this year's budget and allows single parents to secure a home loan with as little as a 2% deposit (via a government guarantee of up to 18%). Launched on 1 July 2021, 10,000 spots will be available over four years and participants must be a first home buyer, with a maximum income of $125,000. The loan must be repaid through principal and interest repayments and can’t be longer than 30 years.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme

The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS) helps first home buyers save up a deposit by utilising the tax discounts that superannuation can offer. Essentially, it allows first home savers to salary sacrifice up to $15,000 per year towards the scheme at a discounted tax rate of only 15% (instead of their marginal tax rate - typically 32.5%). While deposited in the scheme, these contributions will earn a deemed rate of return (currently 3.04% p.a). When ready to buy a house, up to $30,000 can be released from the scheme (plus any earnings), although this is set to increase to $50,000 from July 2022.

Read more about First Home Owner/Buyer Grants:


Photo by Nathan Hurst on Unsplash

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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Alex joined Savings.com.au as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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