The First Home Owner Grant was introduced in 2000. It is a grant payable to eligible first home owners on the purchase of a new home or the construction of a new home. It is a national scheme but funded by each state and territory and administered under their own legislation. Therefore, there are differences in the eligibility requirements between the states and territories.
A ‘rentvester’ is a term that usually describes someone who rents their home but has purchased one or more investment properties. The number of rentvesters are increasing in Australia, particularly with younger generations, because they want to get on the property ladder as quickly as possible but can’t yet afford their ideal home.
Rentvesters who have bought a residential investment property after 1 July 2000 and have not received the First Home Owner Grant before may still be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant. However they must not have occupied the investment property. The rules regarding occupation of the property differ between the states and territories.
In New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, rentvesters would be ineligible for the First Home Owner Grant if they had occupied the investment property for more than 6 continuous months. In Queensland and the Northern Territory, occupation of the investment property as a residence at any time would make them ineligible. In Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, occupation of the investment property as a residence at any time before 30 June 2004 or for more than 6 continuous months after 30 June 2004 would make a rentvester ineligible for the First Home Owner Grant.
A rentvester applying for the First Home Owner Grant may need to provide evidence that they have not occupied the residence, such lease agreements, utilities accounts and tax returns.
The eligibility requirements apply not only to the individual applying for a First Home Owner Grant but also to their spouse, i.e. if their spouse would not be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant, then neither would they.
The above rules are not exhaustive and there are other eligibility requirements for the First Home Owner Grant in each state and territory. Further information can be found at www.firsthome.gov.au.
Stamp duty is generally payable on the purchase of property however some states and territories have stamp duty concessions (i.e. reductions on the duty payable) for first home owners. The eligibility rules can be different to those for the First Home Owner Grant and also vary between the states and territories.
New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all have specific first home owner concessions for eligible first home owners buying properties under the relevant thresholds.
In New South Wales and Queensland, rentvesters would not be eligible for the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme (NSW) nor the First Home Owner Concession (QLD).
However in Victoria and Western Australia, the eligibility rules for the First Home Buyer Duty Reduction (VIC) and the First Home Owner Rate of Duty (WA) are the same as for the First Home Owner Grant and so rentvesters buying their first homes in these states may still be eligible for these first home owner stamp duty concessions.
Where the first home owner concessions are not available, there may be other home owner stamp duty concessions available (but usually not as discounted as first home owner concessions). Further information can be found at the website for each state or territory revenue office.
This general information is current as at 26 August 2017.