It’s always satisfying to help first home buyers buy their dream home.
A little while ago we featured first home buyers India-Marie and Brock Smith and told the story about how they got the keys to their first home: a four-bedroom house in Singleton.
And they’re not the only ones. According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in August, the number of first home buyers is on the rise this year. First home buyer loan commitments rose 18.4% over the month of August and 38.4% over the year.
Singleton and the Hunter is an ideal place to take your first steps onto the property ladder. And there are several grants and schemes provided by the State or Commonwealth government to help first home buyers do just that. We take a look at what’s on offer in 2020.
1. First Home Owner Grant
The NSW First Home Owner Grant has $10,000 on offer for eligible first home buyers to purchase a brand new (or substantially renovated) property under $600,000.
You could also build your own new home if the home and land has a combined value less than $750,000.
In our area: Check out these small acreages at Wattleview Estate, part of The Retreat, starting at $300,000, which also come as house and land packages with McDonald Jones Homes. Town water, phone, NBN and power are all available.
2. First Home Super Saver Scheme
The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) is a Commonwealth Government initiative that allows first home buyers to take advantage of the lower superannuation tax rate in order to boost their savings.
First home buyers can save a home deposit of up to $30,000 (a maximum of $15,000 per year) by making additional voluntary contributions to their superannuation. This means they are taxed at the superannuation tax rate of 15% and not the marginal income tax rate. First home buyers can then withdraw any of these additional, voluntary contributions to use for their home deposit.
In our area: This stunning 4 bedroom home at 11 Church Street, Singleton is on the market for $545,000-$565,000. Saving up a 20% deposit would mean you’d need $109,000-$113,000.
3. First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
A second Commonwealth Government initiative is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. And the Government has just extended it as part of the latest Federal Budget. It helps first home buyers get onto the property ladder with as little as a 5% deposit, and without having to take out Lenders Mortgage Insurance, by guaranteeing up to 15% of your home loan. You need to apply via one of the scheme’s approved lenders.
Australian Citizens aged 18 or over who are buying their first home as an owner-occupier are eligible, but must meet income caps of $125,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples. You also must be able to show that your 5% deposit is made up of “genuine savings”.
A maximum property value applies and varies depending on location. This is $450,000 in most areas of regional NSW but rises to $700,000 for Newcastle.
In our area: According to realestate.com.au, the median property price for Singleton houses is sitting at $410,000 as of September 2020, so there’s plenty to choose from under the $450,000 cap. Like this house at 41 William Street or this one at 19 Bishopgate Street, both on the market for $425,000.
4. Extensions to the NSW Stamp Duty Concessions
Stamp duty (also known as transfer duty) is one of the biggest upfront costs for any buyer, but the NSW Government offers stamp duty concessions and exemptions for first home buyers buying new or established properties. On 1 August 2020, it actually increased the number of new and off-the-plan properties eligible for the scheme by lifting the thresholds for 12 months.
If you’re a first home buyer purchasing a new property to live in, no stamp duty is payable if the property costs under $800,000, and a concessional rate applies between $800,000 and a million.
For established properties, no stamp duty is payable up to $650,000 and a concessional rate applies from $650,000 to $800,000.
5. Homebuilder Scheme
In addition to the grants specifically for first home buyers, you may also be eligible to apply for the new $25,000 HomeBuilder scheme. This scheme for new builds and big scale renovations was introduced as a COVID-19 stimulus package and runs until the end of 2020, so you’ll need to act fast.
The eligibility requirements for HomeBuilder include:
- Being an Australian Citizen aged at least 18, who is an owner-occupier (investors are not eligible)
- Earning under the income cap of $125,000 a year for individuals or $200,000 for a couples
- Signing a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 and commencing construction within three months.
You can use the grant to either:
1. Build a brand new home up to $750,000, including house and land packages.
2. Complete a substantial renovation of your existing home (including a knock-down rebuild), where the existing property is valued at less than $1.5 million before the renovation and the renovation contract cost is between $150,000 and $750,000.
In our area: You could buy this premium block of 813 sqm land in a blue-chip location for $210,000 and use the Homebuilder grant towards building your dream home.
If you’re interested in making Singleton and the Hunter Valley the location of your first home, contact our team today.