The Queensland state government has announced that it would be doubling the state’s first home owner grant (FHOG) from $15,000 to $30,000, in what was described as a pre-Christmas bonus. So how does this affect Queenslanders hoping to put their first foot onto the property ladder in the new year?
Queensland doubles first home owner grant – what this means for you
How does the new Queensland FHOG work?
In a joint statement, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Treasurer Cameron Dick, and housing minister Meaghan Scanlon announced the boost to the Queensland FHOG, to come into effect from 20 November 2023.
According to the statement, it is estimated that the doubling of the grant will support around 12,000 buyers to unlock their first home by 30 June 2025, when the boost is set to expire.
The doubled $30,000 grant is equal to the FHOG offered in Tasmania, and triple the grants available in New South Wales and Victoria.
To qualify for the doubled grant, you must be buying or building a new home valued less than $750,000, which must be the first residential property you’ve owned in Australia.
However, purchasing an existing property may be off the table, as the conditions stipulate that the home you purchase:
- must not have been lived in or sold as a place of residence at the time of completion
- can be a house, unit, duplex or townhouse; or a granny flat built on a relative’s land
- can be a home that has been moved from one site to another (including kit homes or modular homes)
- can be a home in a manufactured home park
- can be a substantially renovated home
It may also be possible to buy a property off the plan.
How can this help first home buyers?
What kind of difference will doubling the FHOG make to first home buyers in Queensland? The grant’s effect on your budget may vary greatly, depending on your budget, your financial circumstances, and your personal goals.
For example, assuming a first home buyer was looking to purchase a property at the maximum cap of $750,000, this would normally require a 20% deposit of $150,000 to qualify. Even after the doubled FHOG is used, this leaves the buyer with another $120,000 in upfront costs to pay for out of their savings.
If you can qualify for a mortgage with a 10% deposit of just $75,000, this would mean only having to save up to $45,000 of your own money. And for a 5% deposit of $37,500, a first home buyer may only be out of pocket by $7500.
However, it’s essential to remember that the smaller your home loan deposit, the more you may need to pay in lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). According to RateCity’s LMI calculator, while no LMI is required for a 20% deposit, $18,765 is payable for a 10% deposit, and $33,915 is payable for a 5% deposit.
You’ll also need to budget for stamp duty, which for a $750,000 property in Queensland should cost around $19,600, plus registration and transfer fees. While first home buyers in Queensland can benefit from stamp duty concessions, these only apply up to a maximum home value cap of $550,000.
It’s also worth remembering that the FHOG isn’t the only game in town. The federal government’s home guarantee scheme allows first home buyers to purchase their first home with a deposit as low as 5%, with the government serving as a guarantor for the remaining 15% so that LMI is not required.
However, places in the scheme are limited, as is your choice of lenders, and there are extra eligibility criteria to fulfil around your household income, and also property value caps. Specifically, the maximum value for a property purchase in a Queensland capital or regional centre is $700,000.
Putting it all together:
Hunter is looking to purchase his first home in Queensland, and has his eye on a property under $700,000 to take advantage of the federal scheme. A 5% deposit would be $35,000, which with the doubled FHOG in Queensland, would leave him having to pay just $5000 of his own money.
While there would be no LMI to pay in this case thanks to the government support, Hunter would still need to pay stamp duty of around $17,350, plus mortgage registration and transfer fees. This would mean that in total, Hunter would be paying at least $20,350 upfront for his property.
Please keep in mind that all of these examples are to be considered general advice for informational purposes only, and don’t account for extra fees or future changes to eligibility criteria.
It's important to keep in mind that buying a property with a lower deposit can come with extra risks, such as ending up stuck in mortgage prison if interest rates rise, as it would likely take longer to build up sufficient equity in the property to refinance to a more affordable home loan. Consider contacting a mortgage broker or a financial adviser before making any big decisions around purchasing your first home.