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Published December 14, 2022

First Home Buyers Assistance Schemes and Federal Programs

Everyone knows about the First Home Owner Grant. But you might be eligible for even more support.

Aspiring first home buyers have a range of government programs designed to help get their feet in the property door.

The programs detailed below are nationwide schemes so check the details in your state. 

First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)  

The FHOG is the national scheme most people know about and is available everywhere except in the ACT. 

The grant differs slightly from state-to-state, so check your state’s website. There is up to $30,000 available so it definitely pays to learn as much as you can about the First Home Owner Grant. 

Eligible applicants can receive up to:  

  • Queensland: $15,000 
  • Victoria: $10,000 
  • South Australia: $15,000 
  • New South Wales: $10,000 
  • Western Australia: $10,000 
  • Tasmania: $30,000 
  • Northern Territory: $10,000 

The FHOG also is tax-free, meaning you don’t have to declare it as taxable income on your annual lodgement. 

First Home Guarantee (FHBG) 

Perfect for: First Home Buyers  

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) guarantees up to 15% of a deposit with a participating lender. This means you only need to contribute 5% of the property’s value as a deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance

The caveat: The First Home Guarantee isn’t a cash payment. It helps you get in your home sooner and avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance – because your down-payment is 5%, not the standard 20%. 

There are 35,000 spots available for this scheme until 30 June 2023. You can apply for this program if you’re buying an existing property, a house and land package, land with a separate contract to build, or an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse. 

The FHBG is particularly beneficial for first-time buyers who plan to purchase an established home and are missing out on the First Home Owner Grant. Check the property price cap for your state as they can vary by up to $300,000. 

To be eligible, you need to:

  • Be an Australian citizen, 18 years or older.
  • Apply as an individual or couple, not as a company or trust. 
  • Earn no more than $125,000 as an individual or $200,000 as a couple (confirmed by the ATO). 
  • Plan to live in the property. 
  • Not have previously owned a property. 

Family Home Guarantee (FHG) 

Perfect for: Single Parents 

The Family Home Guarantee is open for single parents with at least one dependent and is also available for first time buyers and previous homeowners. 

Arranged through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), the scheme is available for 5,000 people until 30 June 2023. 

Eligible single parents with a dependent can put down as little as a 2% deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. The loan must be through a participating lender, just like the First Home Guarantee.

The maximum guarantee with the FHG scheme is 18% of the property’s value. 

To be eligible, you need to: 

  • Apply as an individual. 
  • Be a single parent with at least one dependent child. 
  • Be an Australian citizen, 18+ years old.  
  • Have an income under $125,000 per year. 
  • Not own a property elsewhere. 

A single person is defined as someone who doesn’t have a spouse. The dependent must be the biological or adoptive child.

There is a property price threshold that differs from state-to-state.

Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme (RFHBG) 

Perfect for: People in regional areas  

This initiative supports aspiring homeowners in regional areas across Australia. There are 10,000 spots available until 30 June 2023. Like the First Home Guarantee, approved applicants can put down just a 5% deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. The maximum guarantee is 15% of the property value, through a participating lender. 

To be eligible, you need to: 

  • Be an Australian citizen, 18 years old or older. 
  • Apply as an individual or couple, not a company or trust. 
  • Earn no more than $125,000 as an individual or $200,000 as a couple (confirmed by the ATO). 
  • Live in the home. 
  • Never have owned a property before. 
  • Have lived in the regional area for at least 12 months from the home loan agreement date. 

Apply through a participating lender or an authorised mortgage broker. 

First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS) 

Perfect for: Tax-savvy buyers 

The FHSS allows individuals to save for a home deposit by leveraging their super fund. You can make voluntary contributions (pre-tax and post-tax) into your super fund.

Under the FHSS, the maximum voluntary contributions you can withdraw in a financial year is $15,000 – with a total of $50,000 in contributions for the entire scheme. 

It takes 15-20 days to receive the funds. If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO or another Commonwealth agency the withdrawal amount may be reduced to repay the amount. 

To be eligible, you need to: 

  • Be 18 years old or above. 
  • Have never owned a property before or made a FHSS release request. 
  • Live in the property for at least six months within the first year of ownership.

Help to Buy Scheme 

Perfect for: People with small deposits 

The Help to Buy Scheme is designed for eligible buyers to co-purchase a home with the Government. The individual puts up at least 2% of the property value as a deposit and the Government guarantees between 30% (existing home) or 40% (new home) – without you having to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance. For example, if it’s an established house, the mortgage amount is 68% and the shared equity is 30%. 

It’s open to people who have owned a property before, not just first-time buyers. For example, a divorced woman who previously owned a property may be eligible for the scheme. 

How it works: Approved borrowers either pay to increase their ownership over time (at a minimum of 5% increments) or when the property is sold. 

The scheme functions like a mortgage, not as rent. Income increases (exceeding the eligibility criteria) may trigger earlier repayment. 

To be eligible, you need to: 

  • Be an Australian citizen, 18+ years old. 
  • Earn under $90,000 as an individual or $120,000 as a couple. 
  • Live in the property. 
  • Not own other property. 
  • Be responsible for the additional costs associated with home ownership such as stamp duty. 

The Help to Buy Scheme is set to launch next year, with 10,000 spots for eligible Australians. It will not be available to apply for in 2022. 

Helping more young Australians own homes 

From grants to guarantees and concessions to capital, there’s plenty of support for aspiring homeowners. 

With growing coverage about how young Australians are deciding to rent long-term after being locked out of home ownership, it’s important to tap into all available resources. 

If you’re planning to buy a house in the next year or two, learn about all the upfront costs, the ongoing expenses and government grants. 

Research property prices in your target area and get a feel for the local market so you know what homes are selling for. Investigate any other financial assistance available, educate yourself on loan types, and complete a credit report to see how you present to lenders. 

With all this information, you can make an informed decision about how much you’re comfortable spending on your first home. 

The aim is to get into the real estate market as soon as possible to start growing wealth. These government grants and programs are designed to help make this possible and secure your financial future.

About the Author

Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith is a freelance reporter, journalist, and cultural commentator. She covers culture + society, travel, LGBTQ+, human interest, and business. Her work has appeared in outlets such as The Guardian, Business Insider, VICE, News Corp, Singapore Airlines, Travel + Leisure, and Food & Wine. Amanda has written stories about planning for retirement for Business Insider, the connection between identity and money for Refinery 29, and the evolving cryptocurrency space for multiple verticals. A keen observer of humans, subcultures, societies and worlds, Amanda's words challenge perceptions and help bridge worldviews. Amanda splits her time between Adelaide, South Australia, and New York City.

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