Attwood Marshall Lawyers Property & Commercial Law Graduate Mieke Elzer explains how the scheme works, the criteria, and how eligible buyers can apply quickly so as not to miss out on a limited place.
As Australia’s rental crisis continues to hit new highs, the impetus for prospective first home buyers and previous homeowners to purchase a home of their own has increased. However, the strain of soaring rents coupled with overall increases in the cost of living have made it difficult for renters to save the required deposit. Further, interest rate hikes are constraining prospective purchasers’ borrowing capacity. Additional increases to interest rates look likely in the short term before they will settle down. Construction supply issues have also played their part in making homeownership a significant challenge.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) lending figures for July 2022 demonstrated that the number of new loans to the first home buyer segment fell 10.7 per cent nationally and was almost 36 per cent lower than the previous year. To help make home ownership more achievable the NSW Government has launched the NSW Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper initiative.
With only 3,000 places available in the scheme each financial year, it is imperative that eligible purchasers get in fast. The following information is designed to help real estate agents, and homebuyers, understand the criteria and the process for applying. A summary of key definitions has also been included.
How it works
For successful applicants, the NSW Government will contribute a proportion of the purchase price in exchange for an equivalent interest in the property.
The amounts that the Government will contribute are up to 40 per cent of the purchase price on a new property and up to 30 per cent of the purchase price on an existing property.
Lenders Mortgage Insurance will not be required. This saves the buyer tens of thousands of dollars making serviceability of a loan accessible to more people.
The buyer is not required to make repayments on the Government’s contribution provided they remain eligible under the scheme. Participants can however make voluntary payments to progressively buy the Government. No interest is applied on these repayments. The Government will, however, receive the capital gain on their percentage of the property should the property be sold.
Who can apply?
The Scheme is open to:
- Single parents who have at least one dependent child
- Single persons aged 50 years or over
- Key workers* buying their first home
* Key worker: includes early childcare educators, nurses, midwives, paramedics, police officers, and teachers. You can be employed on a temporary, permanent, full-time or part-time basis.
If you fit into one of the above categories, you will also need to meet the following income and asset tests:
Your gross income must not exceed:
- $90,000 for singles
- $120,000 for couples
Your financial assets must not exceed:
- 30 per cent of the property purchase price if you are:
- joint applicants with a combined gross annual income of more than $90,000
- 45 per cent of the property purchase price if you are:
- a single applicant aged 18-49
- joint applicants with a combined gross annual income of up to $90,000
- 65 per cent of the property purchase price if you are:
- a single applicant aged 50 or over.
In addition to the above requirements, participants must also:
- be 18 years or over
- be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent Australian resident
- have a minimum deposit of 2% of the purchase price
- occupy the property as their principal place of residence
- not currently own any land or property
- not be able to service the mortgage for the property purchase without the government contribution but be able to service the mortgage with a participating lender with the government contribution.
How to apply
Interested buyers need to start their enquiry through Bendigo Bank.
An initial intake conference with Bendigo Bank will determine your eligibility for the scheme as well as your borrowing capacity.
If you are deemed eligible, you will be contacted by one of Bendigo Bank’s lending specialists who will provide you with the application form for the scheme. The lender will also request information from you to start your finance application.
Once you have provided all the required information and Bendigo Bank are satisfied with your credit assessment, your application for the scheme will be submitted to the Chief Commissioner of the NSW State Revenue Department. If the department approves your application, you will be allocated a place in the scheme and your finance application with Bendigo Bank will progress to a conditional approval.
At this point, you can begin looking for a property to purchase, bearing in mind that your conditional approval for finance will only be valid for 3 months so you will need to have entered into a contract and settled within that period.
What can I buy?
Once you have been deemed eligible and allocated a place in the scheme, you can look at purchasing a property. The property must be in NSW and must meet the purchase price threshold as follows:
- $950,000 or under for property in Sydney and major regional centres;
- $600,000 of under for other areas of NSW
What other support is the NSW Government offering?
If you are a First Home Buyer, you may also be eligible for a stamp duty exemption, concession, or to opt to pay a deferred property tax rather than an upfront stamp duty on settlement. There are two schemes on offer.
First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme – Stamp Duty Exemptions and Concessions
From 1 August 2021, first-home buyers in New South Wales are exempt from paying transfer duty on existing and new homes valued at less than $650,000. Transfer duty concessions also apply to first-home buyers of existing and new homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000.
In addition, for first-home buyers who purchase vacant land that they plan to build a home on, no transfer duty applies if the land is valued at less than $350,000 and concessional rates will apply on land valued between $350,000 and $400,000.
For more information about this First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme buyers can consult the Revenue NSW website.
NSW First Home Buyer Choice Scheme
If you are a first first-home buyer and you are not eligible for a stamp duty exemption under the above First Home Buyers Assistances Scheme, you may wish to consider the NSW First Home Buyers Choice Scheme. The scheme allows you the option of paying an annual property tax instead of an upfront stamp duty on settlement.
The scheme is designed to lower the initial costs associated with buying a home, and to help boost homeownership across the state. Whereas stamp duty is calculated on the purchase price or dutiable value of the property, an annual property tax is based on the land value of the property with the advantage of course being that the buyer does not have to come up with the lump sum on settlement.
The Scheme is available for buyers purchasing new and existing properties up to $1.5 million and residential vacant land up to $800,000.
With a recent decline in NSW home ownership, particularly by younger demographics and those with lower incomes. The NSW First Home Buyer Choice Scheme should help break down some of the barriers first-home buyers face when trying to enter the market.
Eligible first-home buyers who sign a purchase contract on or after 16 January 2023 are not required to pay stamp duty, provided they pay property tax before their property settles. In addition, eligible first-home buyers who signed a purchase contract between 11 November 2022 and 15 January 2023 can also take retrospective advantage of the property tax if they choose to.
Want to do some calculations? Click here for the First Home Buyer Choice Calculator.
- Dependent child: A child is considered a dependent person if they are:
- aged under 16, or
- aged 16 to 18 (under 19) and in full-time secondary study, or
- aged 18 to 21 (under 22) and in receipt of a disability support pension under the Social Security Act 1991
- Note, the Chief Commissioner may waive the requirement for a child aged 16 to 18 to be in full-time secondary study.
- Dependent child: A child is considered a dependent person if they are:
- Exiting home: residential property that has previously been occupied, that has not undergone extensive renovation
- Key worker: includes early childcare educators, nurses, midwives, paramedics, police officers, and teachers. You can be employed on a temporary, permanent, full-time or part-time basis.
- Gross income: includes assessable income and exempt income, does not include child support and lump sum workers compensation payments
- Major regional centres: includes the following regions as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Level 4 Statistical Area Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Mid-North Coast, Coffs Harbour-Grafton, Richmond-Tweed
- New home: residential property that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence. This includes a substantially renovated home or a home built to replace demolished premises.
- Sydney: includes the Central Coast, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Greater Capital City Statistical Area
Attwood Marshall Lawyers – helping people secure their dream home
The current state and federal Government incentive schemes can provide much needed assistance for first home buyers, single parents, and low-income earners, to secure their next home.
Our experienced property lawyers can help people understand what schemes they may be eligible to apply for and what factors they should consider when buying property.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers is an experienced property law firm that has assisted real estate agents and their clients for over 75 years, helping people achieve their property goals. We believe in providing comprehensive advice to buyers and sellers so that they understand all their options, they can access any entitlements they may be eligible for, and they have confidence that their best interests are protected.
To avoid the risk of missed opportunities, contact our Property and Commercial Department Manager, Jess Kimpton, on direct line at 07 5506 8214, mobile at 0432 857 300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you or your clients require advice outside of office hours, our Robina Town Centre office is open Thursday night until 9pm and Saturday morning until 12noon, or you can contact our team on our 24/7 phone line at 1800 621 071.