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Amendments to first-home-buyer schemes around the country should come as a hip-pocket reprieve to many.

State and territory governments have made a number of changes to first-home-buyer grants and stamp-duty concessions this year, as they seek to align the grants with economic objectives.

The big change, particularly in NSW and Queensland, is a move to provide greater incentives to buy newly built homes. The changes mean different schemes now operate from state to state.

Grants and concessions are increasingly valuable for first-home buyers. The research group Canstar says the average size of a first-home-buyer mortgage has increased from $151,000 to $290,000 over the past decade.

VICTORIA

First-home buyers can apply for a $7000 First Home Owner Grant as long as the property does not exceed $750,000.

The $13,000 First Home Bonus, available to first-home buyers who bought a new home, ceased on July 1, as did a scheme that gave buyers in regional areas an additional $6500.

Victoria offers a 20 per cent stamp-duty reduction for first-home buyers. From January 1 next year, the reduction will increase to 30 per cent. To be eligible, the value of the property must not exceed $600,000.

NSW

The $7000 First Home Owner Grant for established properties ended on September 30.

On October 1, the $7000 grant was replaced by the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) Scheme. Under the scheme, first-home buyers who buy or build a new home with a contract date on or after October 1 will be eligible for a $15,000 grant, reducing to $10,000 on January 1, 2014.

The grant will only be available if the value of the property does not exceed $650,000.

First-home buyers are also eligible for a stamp-duty exemption when buying a new home or vacant land. The exemption applies to properties worth up to $650,000 and vacant land up to $450,000.

The exemption from stamp duty for non-first-home buyers of new homes in NSW ceased on July 1. It has been replaced by the New Home Grant Scheme, which offers non-first-home buyers a grant of $5000 if they buy a new property up to $650,000. People who buy vacant land up to$450,000 with the intention of building a new home will also receive the grant.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

First-home buyers are eligible for the $7000 First Home Owner Grant on properties valued up to $750,000. In June, the ACT government adjusted its means-tested home-buyer concessions so that since the beginning of September, stamp-duty concessions only apply to the purchase of new or ”substantially renovated” properties. The concession is available to households with an income up to $150,000.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

In his May budget statement, South Australian Treasurer Jack Snelling said the government was committed to maintaining the $7000 First Home Owner Grant and he reversed a previous decision to phase out the $8000 First Home Bonus Grant. The First Home Owner Grant applies to new and established houses and is available on the purchase of properties valued up to $575,000. The First Home Bonus Grant is available with the purchase of new homes. First-home buyers can apply for both grants.

QUEENSLAND

The $15,000 First Home Owner Construction Grant, in force since September 12, is available to first-home buyers who buy a new home, or off the plan, worth $750,000 or less.

The $7000 First Home Owner Grant, which applies to both established and new houses, will end on October 11. Queensland also offers stamp-duty concessions for first-home buyers of new or established houses and vacant land.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

First-home buyers in the west are eligible for a $7000 First Home Owner Grant. The cap is between $750,000 and $1 million depending on where you are. The state also has a Home Buyers Assistance Account, which provides $2000 towards expenses associated with buying a first home up to the value of $400,000. First-home buyers may be eligible for both.


Posted by John Kavanagh – Money Manager on 17th October, 2012