First home owner grant

The ACT Government introduced the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) on 1 July 2000. The grant aims to encourage home ownership by providing financial assistance to eligible people buying their first home. The ACT Revenue Office oversees the FHOG.

The FHOG has undergone a number of recent changes. The FHOG now suits home buyers looking to buy new and substantially renovated homes only; it’s no longer available for purchasing established homes.

As of 1 January 2017, the FHOG is $7,000.

Commencement date

The commencement date of a transaction is the date you sign and exchange the contract (not the settlement date). If you’re building a home as an owner-builder, the commencement date is the day you start laying the foundations.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the FHOG:

  • you must be:
    • buying or building a new home, substantially renovated home or off-the-plan home, with a commencement date on or after 1 January 2017, or
    • building a home as an owner-builder, for which building started on or after 1 January 2017
  • the total value of the property (home plus land) must be $750,000 or less
  • you must complete the First Home Owner Grant Application SmartForm, with all necessary supporting documents, within one year of completing your transaction
  • everyone with a relevant interest in the home must be an applicant
  • every applicant must be at least 18 years old (the Commissioner for ACT Revenue can exempt you from this requirement if there are good reasons to do so)
  • no applicant can be a company or trust (except a trustee for a person with a legal disability)
  • at least one applicant must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • at least one applicant must:
    • move into the home within one year of completing the eligible transaction, and
    • live in the home as a principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least one year.

Applicants and their partners are not eligible for the FHOG if:

  • they have already received the FHOG anywhere in Australia
  • before 1 July 2000, they owned or held a relevant interest in a residential property anywhere in Australia
  • on or after 1 July 2000 but before 1 January 2004, they acquired a relevant interest in residential property anywhere in Australia, and occupied the property for any period of time
  • on or after 1 January 2004, they acquired a relevant interest in residential property anywhere in Australia, and occupied the property for six continuous months or more.

An applicant who received a grant and later paid it back may be entitled to apply for an additional grant, depending on the circumstances.

Grant amount

The FHOG has changed over the years having different grant amounts, residency requirements and application forms depending on the commencement date of your eligible transaction (see Table 1 below).

Table 1 – FHOG information by commencement date range
Commencement dates
Grant amount

1 January 2017 to current

$7,000

1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016

$10,000

1 September 2013 to 31 December 2015

$12,500

New or substantially renovated homes

From 1 September 2013 onwards the FHOG applies only to new or substantially renovated homes.

A new or substantially renovated home means:

  • a home that hasn’t been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence, or
  • a substantially renovated home that, with renovations complete, hasn’t been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence, or
  • a home that’s subject to an off-the-plan purchase agreement.

Deferred duty is available for established homes in some circumstances.

Substantial renovations

Substantial renovations must be renovations that impact the building as a whole, meaning that all, or substantially all, of the previous building has been removed or replaced.

Substantial renovations do not include:

  • renovating one part of the building without any work on the rest of the home
  • removing or replacing a kitchen or bathroom with only minor repair work on the rest of the home
  • cosmetic improvements.

How to apply

You can lodge your FHOG application in two ways: through an approved agent or directly to the ACT Revenue Office.

You must lodge your application within one year from the completion date of the eligible transaction. This means the settlement date or the date of issue of the Certificate of Occupancy and Use.

Owner-builders can only lodge their application within this one-year period if the home has been completed.

Filling out the application

When you apply for the FHOG, you need to make sure the information on your application is true and correct. It’s an offence for you to make a false or misleading statement when applying for the grant.

If you’re unsure about any of your obligations or the information required in the application, contact us so we can help.

Applying through an approved agent

An approved agent is a financial organisation approved by us to accept and process applications for the grant before completion of the eligible transaction.

You must use an approved agent for payment to be available at settlement or first draw down/progress payment.

If you apply through an approved agent, the agent can lodge the application any time between the transaction’s commencement date (exchange of the contract) and the completion date.

Please contact the agent for a status update on your application.

Applying directly

We only accept direct applications after completion of the transaction. The FHOG application is made by SmartForm .

Please submit complete applications with all the necessary supporting documents; incomplete applications delay processing time.

What happens next?

If we approve your FHOG application:

  • and you applied through an approved agent, you’ll receive your grant at the settlement date set by the approved agent;
  • and you applied directly to us, you’ll receive your grant within 10 working days.

We review applications and conduct ongoing investigations to make sure that all applicants comply with the conditions. We generally conduct these investigations after we’ve paid the grant.

What happens if I don’t comply?

If, at any time, you do not meet the FHOG eligibility requirements, you must, by law, notify the Commissioner for ACT Revenue in writing and repay the grant within 14 days of becoming aware of your ineligibility.

If you have any concerns about your FHOG eligibility, including residency, please contact us  as early as possible.