The race is on for first-home buyers to take advantage of the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme and save up to $54,000 on the price of a new apartment.
The scheme, which is due to wrap up on March 31 this year, provides eligible owner-occupiers, including first-timers, with grants worth $15,000 for newly built or off-the plan properties costing less than $750,000.
The grant, intended to boost the building industry and thereby the post-Covid economy, has already been extended by three months from last December and there is no word from Federal Treasury of plans to keep it going.
So prospective purchasers have just over two weeks to sign on the dotted line – but it’s certainly worth the effort for those on the brink of buying.
Topped up by the $10,000 NSW first home owner grant, and a stamp duty concession worth about $29,000, provided they meet all the eligibility requirements, that’s a big chunk off the cost of your brand-new home.
And since apartment have for a long time been the first choice of first-home buyers, we may well see an upsurge in new apartment sales in the last two weeks of the month.
It’s not just NSW. Other states have their own programs supporting first-time and new home purchasers that can be boosted by the Federal grant.
For instance, in Victoria first-time buyers can get $10,000 towards the purchase of a new home in the city and $20,000 if it’s in regional areas. Buyers may also qualify for stamp duty concessions.
All states and territories have their own schemes with different eligibilities and amounts, but in general terms in Queensland first-home buyers can also get $15,000 off the cost of a sub-$750k home, with similar schemes for South Australia ($15k), West Australia ($10k), Tasmania ($20k), NT ($10k) and the ACT (duty waived – there’s a very good explainer here).
And, of course, it’s not just first-home buyers who can benefit from the Federal grant. As long as you are going to live there and it costs less than $750,000, anyone can apply.
It’s a popular grant. Sydney-based property developer ALAND has sold more than 700 properties, 350 of which were first home buyers who’ve taken advantage of the HomeBuilder Grant, since the scheme came into effect in June last year.
Last month ALAND received over 200 apartment reservations and they expect March to be one of their busiest sales months.
“Last weekend was extremely busy with over 65 sales made on new properties,” said ALAND sales director Mark Bernberg. “We expect a similar result this weekend, as first home buyers rush to get into the market before the scheme ends.”
One happy customer is Reagan Thompson, 35, who bought his first home in ALAND’s Schofield Gardens development in Western Sydney with wife Momoko in September last year.
The Brisbane resident purchased a three-bedroom unit for $665,000 in September, taking advantage of the stamp duty concession, as well as Federal Government’s HomeBuilder grant, and the First Home Owner’s Grant.
“The various grants and schemes made us make a decision faster,” he said. “It was the right move especially given the buoyancy in the property market this year.
“If we had waited longer, until after the project was completed to purchase, we would have probably had to put another $40,000 or $50,000 on top, and that would all be on us.”