1 August 2018

Making sense of what’s on offer for first home buyers

| Rachel Ziv
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Are you a first home buyer and finding it difficult to stay on top of all the changes?

If you’re thinking of buying your first home in the next couple of years, you may be wondering how to make the most of all the recent changes to first home buyer concessions.

In the 2017 budget, the NSW government announced changes to their first home buyer scheme, affecting those who decide to purchase in neighbouring regions such as Queanbeyan, Googong, Bungendore and Jerrabomberra.

Last month, the Barr government announced its changes to first home buyer concessions, as part of the 2018-2019 ACT budget.

The Australian Government also announced a national First home super saver (FHSS) scheme that allows you to save money for your first home in your superannuation.

With all the changes, it can be difficult to work out where you stand, and what you could and should be taking advantage of in order to maximise your entitlements.

To simplify what’s on offer, RiotACT sat down with Chloe Heath, Branch Manager of Bendigo Community Bank in Curtin.

“The recent changes are great news for first home buyers,” says Chloe. “It’s clear that on both a local and national level, the government is committed to facilitating first home buyer purchasing, and this has led to some great incentives.

“The latest Housing Affordability Report also tells us that ACT first home buyer numbers are up by more than 80%, which is fantastic. I think as the new changes (scrapping of stamp duty) come through in July next year, this will continue to grow.”

For those wanting to take the leap into home ownership, Chloe says that a first step could be investigating how to make the most of the FHSS in helping to save for a deposit.

“You can make pre-tax contributions to your super account, rather than paying 30% tax on your wages and then attempting to save for a deposit. You can do this for up to $15,000 each financial year, culminating in a maximum withdrawal of $30,000. So if you were committed to saving through the FHSS, and possibly topping it up with a high interest savings account, you could save a very decent deposit within just two years.

“With no stamp duty to worry about from July 1 2019 in the ACT, every extra cent you save can be put towards the house. If you’re buying outside the ACT, you may be eligible for both a first home buyer grant and stamp duty concession. We can help you work out your eligibility when the time comes because some concessions depend on the value of the home you want to buy.”

When you’re ready to buy, Chloe says you can get an indication of how much you can borrow, and what the repayments would be, using a home loan calculator.

“From there, don’t be afraid to pop into a branch and have a chat with a human! That’s what we’re here for, and we’d love to walk you through your options and help you make an informed decision that’s right for you. It’ll also allow you to fill out any paperwork for pre-approval, so you can start looking for your new home straight away.

“When it comes to choosing the right mortgage, you’ll find that some banks have special packages for first home buyers. For example, we have a basic home loan which is low cost, easy to understand, and very flexible. But you may also want to consider other loans depending on the type of property you’re looking to buy. Those who are keen to purchase a ‘fixer-upper’ might be better off with a green home loan, for example, which rewards people for renovating in a sustainable way.

“The options are endless, but if you make a start now, owning a home doesn’t have to be a distant dream. It only takes a few simple steps to capitalise on what’s been made available to first home buyers recently, and it could make all the difference to you in the next couple of years!”

To chat with Chloe about buying your first home, give her a call at the Bendigo Community Bank in Curtin on 6260 5140, or pop in for a visit at the Curtin shops (1/20 Curtin Place, Curtin).

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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