Are you eligible for $10,000 towards your first home? Find out how to apply for the First Home Owner Grant
The First Home Owner Grant is a $10,000 one-off boost designed to help you build your first home in WA – enough to get you on your way to living your dream. So what do you need to know?
What is the FHOG?
In WA the FHOG is available to purchasers of brand new homes, for people entering into a new home building contract or purchasing a brand new home or apartment. It cannot be used for established properties. The good news is that besides building from scratch, you can also access the FHOG for most newly built homes that have not yet been lived in, giving you the opportunity to start living right away.
Why does it matter?
The FHOG can help you buy your property sooner. The WA FHOG grant is worth $10,000 towards the purchase or construction of a new home — which can be a significant contribution towards the deposit, since the average first home loan in WA is now $312,000 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
As an additional bonus you will also be eligible for stamp duty rebates. For vacant land less than $300,000, you will qualify for a stamp duty exemption, and for land costing between $300,000 to $400,000 you will be eligible for a lower rate of stamp duty, which can save you money over time. Saving $10,000 at the beginning of a 30-year loan at 5 per cent interest will save you around $55 a month, every month.
Can anyone access it?
To get the FHOG, you need to be 18 or older (except in some rare circumstances) and at least one of the people on the application as buying the property needs to be either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident. And you can only access the grant once, you’re your first home: in other words, you can’t have owned a house before — and neither can your partner. If your partner, de facto or spouse has previously owned a property you are likely to be ineligible. This applies even if they owned a property with someone else or in their own name; if they are an ‘interested person’ in the property you are building now — usually defined as those who have their name on the certificate of title — prior home ownership makes them ineligible. Importantly, this also applies to your parents if they are on the title helping you buy the property. There can be exceptional circumstances, however, so it is best to get some expert advice on your specific case.
What else do I need to know?
Under what is called the residency requirement for the FHOG, there are two key rules: you need to move into the property within 12 months of it being ready for occupation (usually once the builder hands over the keys) and you must live there at least six months. Living there means using the property as your primary place of residence — you sleep there, eat there, you have connected the utilities and moved your stuff in. Breaking either of these rules can mean you need to repay the grant and face a potential penalty. There can be exemptions if your circumstances change, but it is at the discretion of the State Finance Commissioner. Once that six months is up, you are free to move, rent the property out as an investment or sell it on if needed.