A state-by-state guide to concessions available to first home buyers…

Many Australians are facing economic hardship brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with first home buyers among the hardest hit. However, for those with secure employment, this year may prove to be a fruitful opportunity to crack into the housing market.

The new HomeBuilder grant gives $25,000 to people who are building a new home or buying off the plan up to the value of $750,000. And, for first home buyers, there are other concession and grants they can use to get a foothold in the property market.

Making the mst of grants

Cameron Kusher, executive manager for economic research at REA Group, says first home buyers are dominating the current market with government grants playing a large role.

Furthermore, interest rates are the lowest they’ve ever been; home prices, while not expected to go into “freefall”, are tipped to decline; and the recently introduced First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is another tool up the sleeve of first home buyers.

“Government stimulus such as first home buyer grants have been a successful driver of demand in recent years, and the HomeBuilder scheme will likely be no different in bringing forward demand from this buyer group between now and the end of the year,” Kusher says.

“First home buyers who are still employed and have a solid deposit may see the introduction of HomeBuilder as an opportune time to build or purchase a new home.”

It’s never a bad time to do some research into the property market. Picture: Getty

“If you’re in stable employment this could turn out to be one of the best times for first home buyers that we’ve seen in recent years, This is because you could be eligible for more than one first home owner grant or assistance scheme.”

First home buyers need to do their homework. She advises first home buyers save hard; research the grants and concessions that are available; talk to a bank manager or mortgage broker; and, if buying off the plan, look into the reputation of the developer. But getting into the right mindset is also key.

“Unless budget is no object, your first home is rarely ever your dream home.” she says. “You need to have a good idea of what matters most to you — if it’s living close to the city then you may have to compromise on space. If you want more space, you might have to live further from the city.”

What grants are available?

To make the most of grants and concessions, knowing what properties are eligible – and in your price range – is an important first step.

“Grants are generally only available on new homes, units, apartments or townhomes, while price caps usually apply,” Wood says.

So, where do the country’s different states’ and territories’ first home owner grants currently sit?

(*Check your relevant state or territory’s page for full eligibility requirements and additional home buyer assistance schemes.)


How much?


What for?

The ACT phased out their FHOG from 1 July, 2019, replacing it with a home buyer concession scheme.

Other concessions? 

Under the new provisions, first home buyers pay no transfer duty.

All types of property, up to any price, are eligible. However, there are some income thresholds for applicants.

More information:  ACT Revenue Office


How much?


What for?

In NSW, first home buyers can receive $10,000 towards a new home that no one has lived in before, up to a purchase price of $750,000.

Other concessions?

The First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme offers complete stamp duty exemptions on properties up to $650,000 and partial concessions on properties between $650,000 to $800,000.

More informationNSW Revenue Office


How much?


What for?

Territorians can apply for $10,000 towards a newly constructed first home.

Other concessions? 

In the NT, you may also be able to apply for a BuildBonus Grant, potentially worth $20,000, or a Territory home owner discount, worth up to $18,601 off stamp duty.

More informationnt.gov.au

construction home

Many first home buyer grants apply to newly built homes. Picture: iStock


How much?


What for?

A $15,000 grant is available for Queenslanders who are building or buying a new home, up to a value of $750,000.

Other concessions?

You can also apply for a first home concession on transfer duty for home valued up to $500,000 up to $15,925. A home concession may still apply on properties above this price.

More informationqld.gov.au

South Australia

How much?


What for?

Eligible South Australians can apply for a $15,000 grant on newly built properties up to the value of $575,000.

Other concessions? 

First home builders who are still constructing on June 30 (the date state land tax is calculated) can apply for an exemption if they intend to move into the property as their primary place of residence before June 30 of the following year.

More informationRevenueSA

keys handed over

Over 20 years, first home buyer grants have helped many Australians. Picture: iStock


How much?


What for?

First home buyers in Tasmania who are buying or building a new home can receive $20,000 up to 30 June 2022.

Other concessions?

A 50% transfer duty concession is available to first home buyers on established properties valued at or below $400,000.

More informationState Revenue Office of Tasmania


How much?

$10,000 or $20,000*

What for?

Victorians buying or building a new home may receive $10,000 in metropolitan Melbourne or $20,000 if they are in a regional area.

Grants are available on properties up to a price of $750,000.

list of regional locations is available on the State Revenue Office of Victoria’s website.

Other concessions?

A stamp duty exemption is available on first homes valued below $600,000. Concessions are available for properties priced between $600,000 and $750,000.

Additional concessions are also available for certain buying groups and demographics.

More informationState Venue Office Victoria

Western Australia

How much?


What for?

In WA, those buying or building a new home can apply for $10,000.

Other concessions?

First home buyers may be eligible for a concessional rate of transfer duty concessions, potentially including established stock. Check the government website for eligibility requirements.

More informationWA Department of Finance


Don’t forget to check out the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. It helps first home buyers make a purchase with a 5% deposit, without having to take up Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

3 things to know before getting a pool..

Carlene Duffy

Carlene Duffy

But before you break out the shovel and start digging, it pays to know what you’re getting yourself into. You might think that pools automatically increase value, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re thinking of selling, it pays to know how much your property is worth before hitting the market and which items add value and what doesn’t.

I know a thing or two about living with a pool – we have one of the biggest residential pools you’ve ever seen. While that might sound like a treat, it’s been a love-hate relationship over the 10 years we’ve called our property home.

I’m pleased to report that, recently, it’s more love than hate; but I’m also here to tell you the reality of keeping a pool isn’t all sweet summer-day fun.

1. Bigger isn’t always better

One of the most common questions I’m asked when I post happy snaps of my pool on social media is, “what are the dimensions?” My response is, “too big”. I’m not joking – at 150,000 litres it is too big, but it came with the block and we’re hardly going to get rid of it.

Pool exterior

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to pools. Picture: Mindi Cooke

Beyond that, our pool affords us (my kids) endless hours of fun, a reprieve from a hot day, and in our case, it’s the jewel in the crown, as we can take it in from most angles of our home.

On the flip side, it has also cost us thousands in maintenance due to insufficient pool pumps, broken chlorinators, faulty pool cleaners, an endless supply of chemicals, and hefty power bills. You’d be mad to install a pool of this scale in this climate of environmental fragility and the ever-climbing cost of electricity.

 My advice: install that pool (you won’t regret it) but do it on a scale that won’t overwhelm your resources.

2. Climate and trends dictate costs

Dave Franklin of Franklin Pools Australia says the cost of installing a pool varies pretty wildly from state to state, which is subject to climatic differences but also trends. In Queensland the average 8x4m pebblecrete pool comes in at around $25k-$30k, while in Victoria, the same size pool sits at around $55k-$70k.

The difference being that nearly all pools in Victoria are installed with heating. But also, the state’s preferred trend of fully tiled pools has higher labour costs than pebblecrete, which most Queenslanders go for.

house with pool

Pools have timeless appeal for families but can be a lot to maintain. Picture: realestate.com.au

3. The industry is changing

This is one of the most important pieces of advice you can know about the pool industry right now: chlorine and salt pools are on their way out, and mineral pools of varying types are fast on their way in. We recently converted our pool to a mineral system and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.

Read more: How to maintain a pool

To cut to the chase, it means we’re no longer swimming in chlorine (good news for asthma and eczema sufferers); it requires next-to-no maintenance (no trips to the pool shop), and in a decade of operation, our pool’s never been so clear.

Pool exterior

The cost of your pool will be largely determined by the materials its built with. Picture: Mindi Cooke

The bonus is our power bill is expected to be $400 down over the year.

If you’re installing a new pool, a mineral variety is a no-brainer. And if you’re thinking about converting an existing pool but you’re deterred by the cost of conversion, take it from me, it will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make – for your power bill, for the environment, and for your health.