Stamp Duty for First Time Home Buyers
Buying a house for the first time is extremely intimidating. Not only are you dealing with a bunch of terms you may not understand—what is stamp duty for first time buyers, anyway?—but you’re getting ready to part with a chunk of your savings account.
Thankfully, Australia is making it easier for people to enter the housing market. State and territory governments offer grants and concessions that allow people to save money on their first Australian home.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at stamp duty for first-time buyers. Policies differ from state to state, so how much you’ll save depends on where you’re looking to buy.
- Stamp duty is a state or territory tax that homeowners pay when they purchase a home.
- Most states offer stamp duty concessions for first-time buyers. Some have completely abolished stamp duty for those who fit the criteria.
- The amount you’ll save on stamp duty as a first-time buyer depends on what state your house is in.
What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp duty (also known as conveyance duty) refers to the one-off tax home buyers pay to their state government. All states require that buyers pay stamp duty and some states charge different rates for owner-occupied and investment property purchases.
The amount you owe depends on your house’s purchase price, location, and the type of home loan you have. As stamp duty can be quite costly, many states have implemented concession schemes to help buyers save money.
Stamp Duty for First-Time Buyers
Luckily, most states in Australia are promoting home ownership through grants and concessions. These states offer first-time buyers the opportunity to get into the housing market faster than they may otherwise be able to.
The policies surrounding stamp duty vary from state to state. In this section, we’ll take a look at what new homeowners can expect to pay in stamp duty depending on their location and home value.
New South Wales
New South Wales offers several incentives for first-time buyers in their state. The state plans to make up for the lost stamp duty income by tightening restrictions on foreign investments in NSW.
NSW has abolished stamp duty for first home buyers who purchase homes under $650,000. First home buyers purchasing homes valued between $650,000 and $800,0000 pay reduced stamp duty.
NSW also offers a first home buyers grant of $10,000 when building a home worth up to $750,000, or when purchasing a new home worth up to $600,000.
Victoria has taken recent steps to incentivise new home buyers further to enter the market. They increased their first home owner grant (FHOG) to $20,000 from $10,000 for purchases in regional Victoria. Terms and conditions apply.
Victoria has abolished stamp duty for first home buyers on new or existing properties valued at less than $600,000. Before this change, new buyers received a 50% concession on their stamp duty. Eligible first home buyers of houses that cost between $600,001 and $750,000 can now receive a duty concession.
Queensland offers first home buyers a stamp duty concession for all homes valued under $550,000. If the home is under $500,000, then the concession amount will be equal to the stamp duty amount – resulting in no stamp duty for first-time purchasers.
As the price of the home approaches $550,000, the amount of your stamp duty concession gets lower. Buyers of homes valued at $550,000 and above may be eligible for the home concession, which is open to all buyers, not just those purchasing for the first time.
The Queensland government also offers a $15,000 First Home Owners’ Grant; terms and conditions apply.
Unfortunately, South Australia is one of the states with the least amount of concessions for first-time buyers.
There are no stamp duty concessions on regular purchases, and the stamp duty concession for off the plan apartments ended 30 June 2018. It’s unclear whether the SA government will choose to continue this concession.
First home buyers purchasing a new property may be eligible for a grant of $15,000. A new home is one that no one has used as a place of residents before and excludes existing homes.
Western Australia allows first-time homeowners to save on stamp duty as long as the price of their property does not exceed $530,000.
You will pay $0 in stamp duty if the price of your home is below $430,000. First home buyers of properties valued between $430,000 and $530,000 pay a reduced duty at a rate of $19.19 for every $100 over $430,000.
This concession typically applies alongside a first home buyer grant of up to $10,000, dependent on where you live.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT offers stamp duty relief for first home buyers on new homes that cost less than $470,000. Eligible buyers can also receive a duty concession for homes valued between $470,000 and $607,000.
If the home’s value falls between $470,000 and $607,000, buyers pay $12.35 for each $100 that the dutiable value is more than $470,000.
Keep in mind that this concession only applies to new homes, not existing homes. New homes include recently built houses or houses that have never previously been sold as residential properties.
However, changes are in place for first home buyers in the ACT. As of 1 July 2019, first home buyers whose households earn less than $160,000 per year will be exempt from stamp duty when purchasing new or existing homes. The first home owners grant scheme of $7,000 will also be discontinued at that time.
First-time buyers in NT receive a full stamp duty concession on the first $500,000 of a home’s value. The government caps this concession once the home reaches $650,000 in value.
First home buyers could save up to $23,928.60 under this scheme. The concession applies only to buyers purchasing an established home, which is defined as a home that has been previously occupied or sold.
First home buyers of established homes may be eligible for a 50% discount on stamp duty. The concession applies to established homes up to $400,000 in value, and settlement must occur between 7 Feb 2018 and 6 Feb 2019.
Tasmania also offers a $20,000 grant to eligible first home buyers purchasing a new home or building a home.
Comparing Lending Options
Despite the savings opportunities in each state, it’s still important to compare loan products before making your decision.
Buying a home for the first time is a massive financial commitment, and choosing a poor lender or loan package can cost you serious money over time.
Use our comparison tool to help you find the best rates in your state.