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First home owners grants set for 2015 changes:

As of 1 January 2015, first home owners in the Northern Territory and Tasmania are up for some changes.

In the Northern Territory the new year will bring the territory in line with the rest of the country – offering no grant to first home buyers who purchase established properties where currently $12,000 to $25,000 (depending on location) is available.

Meanwhile, in Tasmania, the First Home Builder Boost will drop to $20,000 from next year until 30 June 2015. It will then decrease to $10,000 from 1 July 2015. At the moment, $30,000 is available.

If you're interested in how you apply for these grants, here's a comprehensive explanation.

Here are the grants current accessible by first time buyers, as per information available from the respective Office of State Revenues and Treasuries.

Australian Capital Territory

First home buyers in the ACT can receive $12,500.

This is only available for “new” or “substantially renovated” property worth $750,000 or less.

New or substantially renovated properties include:
 

  • A home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or
  • A substantially renovated home that, as renovated, has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence; or
  • A property which is subject to an “off the plan” purchase agreement.

There is no grant available for purchasing established houses.

As a condition of the FHOG, buyers will need to occupy the property for 12 months upon completion of the dwelling.

To claim the grant, you will need to apply in a one year time period starting from either the settlement or date of issue of the Certificate of Occupancy.

Owner builders can only lodge after the home has been completed.

Payment of the grant is usually then made within 10 days of lodgement.

First home owners who fulfil the requirements for the grant may also have the opportunity to defer their stamp duty.

New South Wales

First home buyers in NSW can receive $15,000. From 1 January 2016 this will be reduced to $10,000.

This is only available for to buy a new home or to build your own new home. The property is required to be worth $750,000 or less.

Properties that are applicable include:
 

  • A home that has not been previously occupied, including occupation by the builder, a tenant or other occupant;
  • A home that has not been previously sold as a residence. Where the home is being purchased, it must be the first sale of that home;
  • A home that has been substantially renovated and a home built to replace demolished premises.

There is no grant available for purchasing established houses.

As a condition of the FHOG, buyers will need to occupy the property for a six month continuous period, within 12 months of completion.

Duty exemptions are available when purchasing new properties valued up to $550,000 and concessions exists for those from $550,000 to $750,000.

Those buying vacant land will pay incur no duty on vacant land valued up to $350,000 and concessions exists  for properties valued between $350,000 to $450,000.

To be eligible, you must not have owned and occupied (for more than six months) a home in Australia after 1 July 2000 and you cannot have owned a property before this time.

Those who are in the Defence Force and on the NSW electoral roll may be able to see the length of time they are required to live in the home reduced.

Currently, established and new properties can receive a benefit for first time buyers, with up to $30,000 available. As in many other states and territories, this was altered from 1 July 2014, and saw established home buyers lose some benefit.

For new properties, the First Home Builder Boost has increased since 7 November 2013 from $8,000 to $23,000, and applies until 31 December 2014. Those eligible for this would also be eligible for the $7,000 FHOG, bringing their total payment to $30,000.

From 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015 inclusive, the First Home Builder Boost drops to $20,000. From 1 July 2015 onwards this is to decrease to $10,000.

To be eligible, you must not have owned and occupied (for more than six months) a home in Australia after 1 July 2000, and you cannot have owned a property before this time.

When you get the FHOG, you need to live in the property for a continuous six months within 12 months of the data that the certificate of occupancy is issued.

Victoria

Only new properties get first time buyers a grant in Victoria, as of 1 July 2013. A payment of $10,000 is available.

It is only available for properties that do not exceed $750,000 in value, apartment from properties on primary production land.

You must live in the property for 12 months continuously, within 12 months of settlement.

The reduction in duty is becoming increasingly attractive – initially, 20% was reduced on 1 July 2011, followed by 10% on 1 January 2013, 10% on 1 July 2013 and an upcoming 10% on 1 September 2014.

Western Australia

A $10,000 grant for first time buyers purchasing or building a new home has been available since September 2013. Those looking to buy an established property may be eligible for a $3,000 grant.

A cap to first home owner grants was introduced in early 2010. To be eligible for a grant, your home must cost less than $750,000, though this threshold increases to $1,000,000 if your home is located north of the 26th parallel.

You can't receive a grant if you owned a residential property after 1 July 2000 and occupied it at all prior to 1 July 2004, or more than six continuous months after 1 July 2004. 

You must live in the property you're intending to buy with your grant for a continuous six months within 12 months of completion.

The Home Buyers Assistance Account, which can provide $2,000 in help, is an extra benefit for West Australian first timers. This $2,000 comes from interest paid on real estate agents' trust accounts.

Essentially there for 'extra' fees around buying, like solicitor and valuation fees, you can only use it for properties costing $400,000 or less. Your purchase must be a established or partially-built home and you must live in the home for the first 12 months. You must purchase the property through a licensed real estate agent, have the loan financed through a lending institution. To be eligible it must also be your first property purchase in Australia.

First home owners also receive a discounted stamp duty rate. Established homes must not be worth more than $530,000 (as of July – this was previously $600,000) to receive the discount. No duty is payable up to $430,000 value (previously $500,000). Above that threshold, $19.19 per $100 is payable (previously $22.51). For vacant land, no duty is payable up to $300,000, and after this $13.01 per subsequent $100 is payable. For vacant land, you will need to pay this upfront and then retrieve a refund on receipt of the FHOG – once you have completed the build. The land cannot be worth more than $400,000.

Northern Territory

First home buyers in the Northern Territory can get up to $26,000 towards their first purchase, with established first time buyers not left out of the picture either.

But from 1 January 2015, the First Home Owners Grant will be redirected solely to first home buyers looking to buy or build a new home.

Currently, as of 13 May 2014, there exists a transaction eligibility threshold (in plain English, this essentially means that the property can only be worth up to a certain amount) for established properties of $600,000, while no limit exists for new properties. Prior to this time, both new and established properties were given a limit for grant eligibility.

An established home is one that has been “previously sold or occupied, and is lawfully fit for occupation”.

A new home is considered one that has never previously been lived in or sold as a place of residence.

However: “To prevent anomalies, a discretion applies in limited circumstances to declare a home that has been previously sold, but not occupied, to be a new home.”

From 13 May 2014 to 31 December 2014, a new home can bring in $26,000. Meanwhile, an established property in an urban area will be provided $12,000, and everywhere else will be given $25,000. The only material difference in grant money compared to 4 December 2012 – 12 May 2014 is an extra $1,000 for new homes (and threshold changes).

An “urban area” means land that sits within the Darwin, Palmerston or Litchfield municipalities. It also covers Wagait Shire, the Darwin Waterfront Precinct, the “prescribed area” for the Darwin Rates Act and other areas potentially prescribed by regulation.

Since December 4, 2012, there has been no stamp duty concession for first timers.

Queensland

Queensland first time buyers can get themselves $15,000 when purchasing a new home. Unfortunately, nothing remains for first time buyers who are purchasing established properties.

Their Great Start Grant, previously being known as the First Home Owner Construction Grant, has been available for those buying new (or substantially renovated properties) since 12 September 2012.

If you previously held any interest in residential properties before 1 July 2000, even if it was an investment property, you're not eligible. Those who have had a property since – but used it solely for investment purposes and did not live in it – may be eligible. You'll need to give them tax return details, tenancy agreements and current electricity and phone accounts.

Grant applications are processed within 10 days of receiving the information.

Those looking to get the grant then must move into the property within one year of completion, and live there for six continuous months.

South Australia

South Australian first time buyers are currently eligible for a FHOG on new homes and established homes – however, since 30 June 2014 the grant hasn't been available for established properties.

The property value must not exceed $575,000.

For those buying a new home, a $15,000 grant has been available since 1 January 2014.

If you previously held any interest in residential property before 1 July 2000, even if it was an investment property, you're not eligible. Those who have had a property since – but used it solely for investment purposes and did not live in it – may be eligible. You'll need to give them tax return details, tenancy agreements and current electricity and phone accounts.

After the property is built, you must then live in the property for six months commencing within 12 months of completion.

Off-the-plan properties may also be eligible for a stamp duty concession for a new apartment or substantially refurbished apartment. A full concession was available for properties from 31 May 2012 to 30 June 2014, capped at the stamp duty payable on a $500,000 apartment (or $21,330). A partial concession now applies, from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016.

The concession does, however, apply to specific areas as outlined on the Revenue SA site and associated maps.

Tasmania

Currently, established and new properties can receive a benefit for first time buyers, with up to $30,000 available. As in many other states and territories, this was altered from 1 July 2014, and saw established home buyers lose some benefit.

For new properties, the First Home Builder Boost has increased since 7 November 2013 from $8,000 to $23,000, and applies until 31 December 2014. Those eligible for this would also be eligible for the $7,000 FHOG, bringing their total payment to $30,000.

From 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015 inclusive, the First Home Builder Boost drops to $20,000. From 1 July 2015 onwards this is to decrease to $10,000.

To be eligible, you must not have owned and occupied (for more than six months) a home in Australia after 1 July 2000, and you cannot have owned a property before this time.

When you get the FHOG, you need to live in the property for a continuous six months within 12 months of the data that the certificate of occupancy is issued.

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