Frequently Asked Questions - First Home Owner Grant

The Frequently Asked Questions have been divided into categories to make it easier for you to find the answer you are looking for. Just click on the desired category to view a list of questions and answers.

In these Frequently Asked Questions:

FHOG refers to the First Home Owner Grant
Commissioner refers to the Commissioner of State Taxation

Overview

What is FHOG?    

FHOG is a one-off grant payable to eligible first home owners on the:

  • purchase or construction of a new home; or

  • purchase of an established home (up to 30 June 2014).

Varying amounts of the FHOG are available, depending on the time the contract was entered into, or in the case of owner builders when construction commenced. The First Home Buyers Grants Table outlines the maximum grant payment available.

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Is there a cap for FHOG?

A property market value cap of $575 000 applies to applicants who enter into a contract to purchase or build a home on or after 17 September 2010, or who commence construction as owner builders on or after 17 September 2010.

The market value is:

  • in the case of a contract for the purchase of a home: the consideration for the purchase of a home, or, where that consideration is less than the market value, then the market value of the property as determined by the Commissioner;

  • in the case of a comprehensive building contract: the sum of the consideration for the building contract and the market value of the land on which the home is to be built as at the time when the contract is made, or, where the consideration for the building contract is less than the actual costs, the sum of the actual costs to build the home and the market value of the land on which the home is to be built as at the time the building contract is made;

  • in the case of an owner builder: the market value of the property on which the home is situated at the time the home is completed and ready for occupation as a place of residence.

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Why was FHOG introduced?

FHOG is a Government initiative introduced to offset the impact of the GST and to provide assistance to people to purchase or build their first home.

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Who is eligible to receive FHOG?

A first home buyer who fulfills the criteria below:

  • an applicant for the grant must be at least 18 years of age. The Commissioner may exempt an applicant from the requirement if appropriate;

  • at least one of the applicants must be an Australian citizen or have permanent residency in Australia at the time of lodging the application. New Zealand citizens permanently residing in Australia, who hold Special Category Visas, may also apply;

  • an applicant or their spouse/domestic partner cannot have held a relevant interest in an Australian residential property and occupied that property for 6 months or more;

  • an applicant or their spouse/domestic partner cannot have held a relevant interest in an Australian residential property prior to 1 July 2000;

  • applicants must occupy the home purchased or built, as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least 6 months commencing within 12 months after completion of the eligible transaction. The Commissioner has a discretion to vary this requirement if there are good reasons to do so;

  • except in cases of legal disability applicants must be natural persons (that is, not companies or trustees);

  • everyone who on completion of the transaction will hold a relevant interest in the home must be included in the application and must meet the eligibility criteria.

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What kind of property can I purchase?

Any fixed dwelling that is suitable as a residence, for example, a single dwelling, duplex, flat or townhouse. FHOG is not available in relation to renovations to an existing building or the purchase of vacant land.

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What can the money be used for?

There are no requirements as to how the money is to be used provided you are eligible to receive it.

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How do I apply?

Applicants can complete and lodge a FHOG Application with either an Approved Agent (a financial institution providing finance) or RevenueSA. 

You need to apply within twelve months of completing the transaction. In the case of a home being purchased, completion of the transaction occurs when the purchaser becomes entitled to possession and steps to obtain registration of the land trabsfer are taken (generally the date of settlement). In the case of a home being built, completion occurs when the home becomes ready for occupancy.

If you are purchasing an existing home you are required to submit a copy of the purchase contract with your application. If you are building a new home, you are required to submit a copy of your building contract. If you are an owner builder, you are required to submit a statutory declaration which states that the home is complete and ready for occupancy.


The Lodgement Guide outlines other supporting documentation that should accompany your application.

If applying via an Approved Agent, please complete and submit the application and supporting documents directly to the Approved Agent. You will need to provide proof of identity from Category 1(refer to Page 2 of the Lodgement Guide for further information).

If applying via RevenueSA, please complete and submit the application with the relevant supporting documentation. If you are purchasing an existing home, you must also provide proof of lodgement for registration with the Lands Titles Office (in the form of a Confirmation of Settlement form). If you are entering into a comprehensive building contract, you must also provide proof of the foundations being poured (in the form of a first invoice). You will need to provide proof of identity from each of the four categories. Refer to page two of the Lodgement Guide for the requirements under each category.

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When will the Grant be paid?

Type of transactionApplying throughPayment of grant
Purchase of a new home or an off-the-plan homeApproved AgentAt date of Settlement
RevenueSAWithin five days after approval of the application, following proof of lodgement for registration with the Lands Titles Office (please complete a Confirmation of Settlement form).
Contract to buildApproved AgentOn date of first progress payment by Approved Agent.
RevenueSAWithin five days of after approval of the application following proof of the foundation being laid (please provide a copy of the first progress invoice).
Owner builderApproved Agent When application with appropriate supporting evidence is provided to the Approved Agent.
RevenueSA Within five days of RevenueSA approving the application lodged with appropriate supporting evidence.

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Occupying the Home

When do I have to move in and for how long?

Each applicant must live in the home as their principal place of residence for at least six continuous months commencing within 12 months of completion of the eligible transaction. It is the responsibility of the applicant to satisfy the Commissioner that they have met the residency requirement. Applicants may be required to verify this later by providing documentation supporting their period of occupancy.

Should you not meet the residency requirement, you must contact RevenueSA in writing within 14 days after becoming aware that you will not comply.Back to top

I am purchasing an established home, when do I have to occupy?

All applicants must occupy the home for a continuous period of at least six months commencing within 12 months of them being entitled to possession of the home under the contract and have taken the necessary steps to obtain registration of the lnd transfer. In most cases this means that occupation must commence within 12 months after settlement.

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If I am building a new home through a builder, when do I have to occupy?

You must occupy the home for a continuous period of at least six months commencing within 12 months after the home becomes ready for occupation.

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In the case of multiple applicants, is every party required to move into the property purchased?

Yes. Each applicant must occupy the relevant home as a principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six months commencing within 12 months after completion of the eligible transaction.

In the case of multiple applicants, the Commissioner has the discretion to exempt an applicant from the residence requirement if at least one applicant complies and there is a good reason why the other applicant(s) will not. Consideration will be given on a case by case basis upon written application to RevenueSA from the applicant(s) who will not comply.

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What if I rent the home out before I move in?

Providing you occupy the home as your principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least 6 months commencing within 12 months after completion of the eligible transaction, you are still eligible for a FHOG. It is also acceptable for you to rent out a room (or other portion of the home) while you complete your six months' occupation.

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Am I eligible if I held a relevant interest in a residential property before 1 July 2000, but rented the property out and never occupied it myself?

No, a person is not eligible if they or their spouse/domestic partner have held a relevant interest in an Australian home before 1 July 2000 in Australia, whether they lived in it or not.

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I may not have met the residency requirement, what should I do?

If you believe that you may not have met the residency requirements you must advise the Commissioner in writing within 14 days of your circumstances changing. Upon receipt of such written advice, the Commissioner will commence an investigation to determine your eligibility to retain the grant. The Commissioner may vary an applicant's residency requirement if satisfied there are good reasons for doing so.

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Owner Builders

Can owner builders apply for FHOG?

Owner builders can apply for FHOG after the foundations have been laid and must apply within 12 months of the property being ready for occupation. There is no specific timeframe to complete construction of the home. The foundations must not have been laid prior to 1 July 2000.

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When will FHOG be paid to an owner builder?

Payment to an owner builder will be made following receipt of a statutory declaration that states that the home is complete and ready for occupation as a place of residence.

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What is considered completion of construction for an owner builder?

Completion of construction is when the home is ready for occupation as a place of residence.

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If I am owner builder, when do I have to occupy?

You must occupy for a continuous period of at least six months commencing within 12 months after the home becomes ready for occupation.

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Spouses/Domestic Partners

My spouse/domestic partner has previously owned a home. Am I eligible?

If your spouse/domestic partner held a relevant interest in a home prior to 1 July 2000, you are not eligible.

If your spouse/domestic partner held a relevant interest in a home on or after 1 July 2000 and did not occupy that home for a continuous period of six months or longer, you may be eligible. Your spouse/domestic partner must be included on your application.

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If I am buying a home in my name only, must my spouse/domestic partner be included on the application form?

Yes. The eligibility criteria applies to both the applicant and the applicant's spouse/domestic partner. If your spouse/domestic partner will/does hold a relevant interest in the home they must complete the applicant components (section 2 and 6) of the application. If not, they must complete the declaration by spouse/domestic partner components (section 3 and 7) of the application.

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If I am divorced or separated and my previous spouse/domestic partner owned a home that I held no relevant interest in, am I eligible for FHOG?

If you are divorced or separated, you are not required to consider the ownerships of your previous spouse/domestic partner. You will be eligible for FHOG provided that you meet all eligibility criteria. It may be necessary for you to provide a copy of your divorce cetificate or statutory declaration to confirm the separation.

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If my partner has previously owned vacant land but not a house, will we be eligible for FHOG on the purchase or construction of our first home?

Vacant land is not regarded as residential property.

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What is considered to be a Domestic Partnership?

A person is the domestic partner of another if they live together in a close personal relationship.

A close personal relationship is defined to mean the relationship between two adult persons (whether or not related by family and irrespective of their gender) who live together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis, but does not include:

(a)the relationship between a legally married couple; or


(b) a relationship where 1 of the persons provides the other with domestic support or personal care (or both) for fee or reward, or on behalf of some other person or an organisation of whatever kind.

Note: Two persons may live together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis whether or not a sexual relationship exits or has ever existed, between them.

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Previous Ownerships

If I already own vacant land, can I still get FHOG?

Yes, if the home relating to your application is not the result of entering into a building contract, or commencing building as an owner builder, before 1 July 2000.

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I have previously owned a home in another state and/or territory. Will I be eligible for FHOG upon the purchase of my first home in South Australia?

If you held a relevant interest in the previous home prior to 1 July 2000 you are ineligible.

If you held a relevant interest in the previous home on or after 1 July 2000 and did not occupy it for a continuous period of six months or more, you may be eligible.

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I previously owned a home overseas. Am I still eligible?

The rules regarding previous ownership only apply to homes within Australia.

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Do I get FHOG if I previously owned a business premise?

A business premise is not considered a home for FHOG purposes unless it could also be lawfully used for residential purposes.

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Other

Can a company or trust apply for FHOG?

No, companies and trusts are not eligible to receive FHOG. It is possible however for a person under a legal disability, holding an equitable interest, to claim FHOG, providing that the legal interest is held on trust by their guardian(s). In this situation, the equitable interest qualifies as a relevant interest and the legal interest does not (meaning that the eligibility of the trustee(s) is not a factor)

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Can I receive FHOG for an investment property?

You cannot receive FHOG for a property used solely for investment purposes. Applicants are required to occupy their properties for a continuous period of at least six months, commencing within 12 months after completion of their transaction.

Back to top Is there a minimum price I must pay to get FHOG for a property?

No, there is no minimum, however if the purchase price is less than the maximum FHOG you will only receive a payment equal to the purchase price.

For example, if you purchase a new home (after 15 October 2012) the maximum FHOG potentially payable is $15 000. If the purchase price is only $10 000, you will only receive FHOG of $10 000.

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Can I purchase a percentage of a home with someone who has had a previous interest in a property?

All applicants receiving FHOG must have a combined 100% interest in the property they are purchasing and all applicants must be eligible. The timing and nature of the previous interest of the person you are purchasing the property with, must be considered in order to determine wither it makes you ineligible. There is a limit of one FHOG per transaction.

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I wish to gift residential property to my son/daughter, is he/she eligible for FHOG?

FHOG is only potentially available where consideration is paid. FHOG cannot exceed the consideration. (For example, if the son/daughter paid consideration of $2500 for the property, that is the amount they will receive for FHOG).

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Is each applicant entitled to FHOG?

FHOG is payable per eligible transaction regardless of the number of applicants. FHOG payments will not be split.

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Is there a means test on income or assets to qualify for  FHOG?

No, personal income or wealth is not part of the eligibility criteria.

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Can I receive FHOG if I want to purchase a Housing Trust Home?

Yes, if you did not have a relevant interest in the property before 1 July 2000 and you meet all other eligibility criteria.

If you enter into a contract for your first progressive purchase on or after 1 July 2000, you can apply for FHOG. FHOG will be paid at the settlement of the first progressive purchase.

If the purchase price is less than the maximum FHOG amount available you will receive the amount equal to the purchase price as payment of FHOG. The balance of FHOG will not carry over to any further purchase. For example, assuming the contract was entered into between 15 October 2012 and 30 June 2014, if the purchase is $2500, you will receive the same amount and will not be entitled to the remaining amount on any further progressive purchase.

If you execute a progressive purchase contract before 1 July 2000 you will not receive FHOG.

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If I purchase a home and receive FHOG, but sell it later, do I have to refund the FHOG amount?

No, providing that:

  • for eligible transactions entered into on or after 1 January 2005, you occupied the home as your principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six months commencing within 12 months after the date of settlement or completion of building.

  • for eligible transactions entered into between 1 July 2000 and 31 December 2004, you occupied the home as your principal place of residence within 12 months of the date of settlement or completion of building.

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Will an applicant be expected to pay back FHOG if they are found to have not met the eligibility criteria?

Yes. In addition, substantial penalties can be applied if it is found that the applicant acted dishonestly. The penalties are as follows:

  • a penalty of up to $20 000 or imprisonment for two years for making a false or misleading statement in or in connection with an application for a FHOG as specified in the First Home and Housing Construction Grants Act 2000.

  • a penalty of up to 100% of the FHOG amount may be imposed by the Commissioner as a result of an applicant's dishonesty where an amount is paid by way of a first home owner grant, along with repayment of FHOG pursuant to the Act.

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