While the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) has welcomed the increase in first home buyer grants in Queensland and New South Wales, chief executive Phil Naylor believes there should be one unified national grant system in place.
“While we welcome the increases in grants and stamp duty concessions, the array of incentives and recent changes make the grant schemes a very confusing maze for first home buyers,” he said.
“It is even more important for first home buyers to use MFAA approved broker to lead them through the many and varied incentives that are on offer across Australia. This is one area where there is a strong case for a unified and simple national scheme of grants for first home buyers.”
Both the Queensland and NSW governments are in the process of lifting their grants for first home buyers to $15,000 in an effort to stimulate new housing activity.
The Queensland grant has increased from $7,000 to $15,000 and applies to first home buyers purchasing a newly constructed or off-the-plan property with contracts signed after September 12, 2012. First home buyers, who are purchasing an existing dwelling, will only have until October 11, 2012, to sign their contract and be eligible for the $7,000 grant, which will be phased out on that date.
Meanwhile from October 1, 2012, the NSW government’s $7,000 First Home Owner Grant will be replaced by the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) Scheme.
The Victorian government continues to provide $7,000 as a First Home Owners Grant, accompanied by a staggered 50 per cent cut in stamp duty (phased in over four years) for new properties worth up to $600,000, with the first 20 per cent drop already in place with another 10 per cent cut from January 1, 2013 and the succeeding two years.
In South Australia, first time home buyers are eligible for a $7,000 grant for properties (existing and new) valued up to $575,000. In addition, for new builds, buyers may also be eligible for a First Home Bonus Grant (FHBG), which is currently $8,000 although will be completely abolished after June 30, 2013.
In Western Australia is $7,000 and will be paid at settlement of buying an established home, or when a slab is poured on a new home. To receive the grant, the total value of properties (i.e. total value of home and land) must be $750,000 or less, or if the home is located north of the 26th parallel, to $1,000,000 or less.
The WA government also has Keystart Home Loans for affordable housing and stamp duty concessions for first home buyers looking to purchase vacant land.