If you meet the following criteria, you might be eligible for a first homeowner grant ($15,000 for Queensland). Unless you are an owner builder, you must have a signed contract to buy or build your first home before applying. You (and any co-applicants for the grant) are natural persons aged 18 years or older. The home you are buying or building must be new and valued less than $750,000 (including land).
A new home is a brand new dwelling (e.g. house, unit, duplex, townhouse, granny flat built on a relative’s land) that has not been previously occupied as a place of residence or sold as a place of residence. The grant may also be available for: established homes that have undergone substantial renovations before you bought the house or homes that have been moved from one site to another, as long as the home has not been occupied since being fixed to the new site (including kit homes, manufactured homes).
You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is). If you are applying for the grant as a joint applicant—for example, you are not a permanent resident but your spouse is an Australian citizen—you may be eligible for the grant if you meet the other eligibility requirements. A permanent resident holds a permanent visa, or is a New Zealand citizen with a special category visa, as defined by the Migration Act 1958 (Cwlth). A New Zealand citizen with a special category visa must have a current New Zealand passport to be a permanent resident.
You or your spouse must not have previously received a first homeowner grant in any state or territory of Australia. If you received a grant that you later paid back, together with any penalty, you may be able to reapply for the grant. You or your spouse must not: currently own property in Australia that you live in, currently own property in Australia that you live in or have owned a home before 1 July 2000, whether you lived in it or not.
If you have owned an interest in residential property since 1 July 2000 that has been solely used for investment purposes, you may be eligible for the grant on a subsequent property. You will need to show that you have not lived in the investment property by providing evidence that covers the entire period of ownership: tenancy or lease agreements, electricity or phone accounts or tax return details declaring the rental property.
You must move into your brand new home as your principal place of residence within 1 year of the completed transaction, and live there continuously for 6 months. You can rent out one or more rooms in the home during your 6-month residency period, as long as this arrangement doesn’t affect your use of the home. However, renting out any rooms in the first year after you move in may affect your eligibility for the first home concession or a first home vacant land concession.
While the residence requirements for the grant are similar to those for the first home concession, the grant and concession are separate benefits; you need to meet the requirements in each case. For example, you can rent the home out before moving in and keep the grant, but you may lose the first home concession. You may be required to verify that you have met these requirements later, by providing documentation supporting the period of occupancy for all applicants.
Even if you meet the eligibility criteria, there are some circumstances that may stop you from getting the grant. For example: you are a trust or company (i.e. not an individual), the new property (home and land) is valued at $750,000 or more, you enter into an arrangement to get the grant, but don’t use it to buy a new home, you held an interest in residential property before 1 July 2000, regardless of how the property was used or you buy or build your new home with financial help from a related person (who is not eligible for the grant) who will also stay in the home often, for long periods of time, or for genuine family reasons. (Money borrowed from a bank or lending institution is not considered to be financial help.).