It’s been said before, and will likely be said many more times, but buying your first property is not always easy. This is probably even more true at the moment, thanks to rising interest rates, growing build costs and cost of living increases. If you’re trying to save money for a deposit, you could be feeling a bit despondent at the moment.
Thankfully, there is support available for first-time home buyers in the form of government grants and schemes. To make life easier for you, we’ve compiled the details of what’s available to first-time buyers living in Western Australia – and we’re sorry in advance for all the abbreviations!
The Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS) is a federal government initiative that helps eligible first home buyers purchase a property with a deposit as low as 2% and avoid paying Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
Under the HGS, part of an eligible home buyer’s home loan is ‘guaranteed’ by a participating lender. There are currently three ‘Guarantees’ you can apply for. These are the First Home Guarantee (FHBG), the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (RFHBG), and the Family Home Guarantee (FHG). The names might be an indication of what the differences are!
Home buyers must meet certain eligibility criteria for each of the Guarantees, and the criteria differ slightly for each one. If you are single or coupled up and want to buy in Perth, you may be eligible for the FHBG, whereas if you want to buy somewhere else in the state, you may be eligible for the RFHBG. If you’re a single parent and looking to buy a home, you may be eligible for the FHG, even if you have previously owned a home.
The three Guarantees are available to a limited number of borrowers each financial year, so it's important to apply early. Application can only be done through an authorised lender, and P&N Bank is one of just 32 lenders authorised to offer the HGS to first home buyers.
For more details on the three Guarantees and the eligibility criteria, visit out Home Guarantee Scheme page.
The First Home-Owner Grant (FHOG) is a one-off payment available to first-time home buyers who are purchasing or building a new home in WA. The grant is currently $10,000 for homes built or purchased in both regional and metro areas.
To be eligible for the grant, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and the property must be your first home. Unlike the HGS above, this grant is not means-tested, so your income will not affect your eligibility to apply.
To learn more and to find out if you could be eligible for the FHOG, visit the Department of Finance website.
The First Home-Owner Rate of Duty (FHOR) is a government concession. As a result of the concession, you may not need to pay stamp duty on your purchase, if the value of the land – or land and home – is under the set value threshold. If it isn’t under the threshold, you may need to pay, but at a discounted rate.
If you’re not eligible for the FHOG because you’re purchasing an established property instead of a new-build, don’t despair as you may be eligible for the FHOR instead if you meet all the other criteria. It’s also available to those who get the First Home-Owner Grant.
Visit the state government’s website to learn more about the concessional rate of duty.
The Home Buyer’s Assistance Account (HBAA) is a Western Australian government initiative that provides a grant of up to $2,000 to eligible first home buyers to help cover some of the expenses associated with buying a home. These expenses include fees such as mortgage registration, solicitor and/or conveyancing and mortgage insurance premiums.
As with the other schemes and grants, there are eligibility criteria that need to be met when applying for this grant. To read about this in more detail, visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.
It's worth noting that the eligibility criteria and availability of these grants and schemes may change over time. It's important that you check the relevant government websites for up-to-date information and always seek advice from a professional if you need help navigating the first home-buying process.
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