Stamp duty is one of the most expensive costs of buying a home. But if you are a first home buyer, you may be eligible for stamp duty NSW exemption or reduced rate. This is possible through the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme – which can save you tens of thousands.
Additionally, if you are a key worker, you may be eligible for the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper.
In this blog post, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about first home buyer stamp duty exemption in NSW.
Let’s dive in…
Table of Contents
Stamp Duty NSW - What Is It?
Stamp duty (also known as transfer duty) is a tax you have to pay to the NSW government when a person transfers ownership of a property to you. You must pay transfer duty when buying any of the following types of property:
- The home you are going to live in
- An investment property
- Vacant land
- Farming property
- A business which includes land in the purchase,
- Commercial property.
You are also required to pay Stamp Duty if you acquire a property without buying it, e.g. a gift or declaration of trust.
Stamp duty NSW is payable within 3 months of signing a contract of sale or transfer. However, if you are buying off-the-plan, you may be able to defer your transfer duty by up to 12 months.
As we have mentioned, stamp duty is one of the most expensive hidden costs of buying a home.
However, if you are a first home owner, you can take advantage of the First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme.
First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme
Under this scheme, first home owners in NSW can enjoy full or partial exemption from paying stamp duty when buying a new home or land to build a home.
What are the eligibility criteria for Stamp Duty NSW exemptions?
To be eligible for the first home buyers assistance scheme, you must meet the following requirements:
- 18 years or older.
- You must be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident.
- If applying as a couple, one of you should be a citizen or permanent resident.
- The property must either be an existing home, a new build or vacant land.
- The grant is only open to individuals or couples. Companies and trusts are not eligible.
- You or your partner must never have owned a property in Australia before. This means that if you have previously owned a property but no longer own a home, you are still not eligible.
- You must move into the house within 12 months after settlement and live there continuously for 12 months.
- If you are a member of the Australian Defence Force, then the requirements to live on the property will be waived as long as you and your partner are on the NSW voters’ roll.
Property price caps
In order to qualify for a full exemption, your property has to be below certain thresholds. The good news is that effective 1 July 2023, the government increased the threshold for stamp duty NSW full exemption from $650,000 to $800,000. The price cap for concessions was also increased from $800,000 to $1 million.
The NSW treasury forecast that with the new changes, 8600 first home buyers in NSW will enjoy total stamp duty exemption while 4400 will enjoy discounts. That now means that 5 out of every 6 homebuyers will either pay no stamp duty or get a discount.
Here is a comprehensive table with the property price caps.
New and existing homes
Property value Is less than or equal to $800,000
Full stamp duty exemption i.e you pay $0 of stamp duty
Property value over $800,000 but below $1million
You can apply for a stamp duty discount.
Vacant Land To Build On
Land value of $350,000 or less.
You qualify for full exemption on stamp duty in NSW
Land value above $350,000 but less than $450,000
You can apply for a stamp duty discount.
Note: if you signed your contract of sale before July 2023, the property thresholds will be lower. For example, the price cap for contracts signed between 1 August 2021 and 20 June 2023 is $650,000.
How do I know if I qualify?
How Much Will I Save With the Stamp Duty NSW exemption?
Are you wondering what stamp duty savings you will have with the first home buyer assistance scheme? According to the NSW government, you can stand to save a whopping $31,090! That’s enough to spoil yourself with some new furniture when you move into your new house.
The following table shows exactly how much you stand to save under the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme.
Stamp Duty Savings
Are there any other benefits of getting stamp duty NSW exemption?
The main benefit of getting a stamp duty discount or exemption is that first-home buyers can now get into the property market faster.
Additionally, the property price threshold increases mean that first home buyers can now afford to buy houses and apartments in the following suburbs:
- Cambridge Park
- North St Mary’s
How Do I Apply For Stamp Duty Exemption In NSW?
Applying for the First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme is pretty simple if you meet the eligibility criteria. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Download and complete the First Home Buyer Assistance Application Form
- Download and fill in the Purchaser/Transferee Declaration Form (for individuals)
- Lodge your application and identity documents with your lawyer or conveyancer
What is the NSW Land Tax
Land tax is a tax that is paid at the end of the year on land that you own. The home that you live in is exempt from paying land tax.
However, land tax is different from the property tax that was introduced under the First Home Buyer Choice Scheme.
First Home Buyer Choice
The first home buyer choice was introduced to make first home ownership in NSW easier by giving buyers the option to pay a yearly property tax instead of stamp duty. The scheme is only available to those who signed a contract of sale before 30 June 2023. (In other words, the First Home Buyer Choice was closed off to new applications when the property thresholds were increased for stamp duty NSW exemptions and discounts.)
The amount of property tax you would pay under this scheme is based on the value of the purchased property and has a fixed and variable component.
According to the NSW government, the following rates apply for the 2022-23 & 2023-24 tax years:
To be eligible for the first home buyer choice, you must have met the following criteria:
- Signed a contract of sale before 30 June 2023
- Are 18 years or older
- Have never owned a property in Australia
- Have never received a First Home Buyer Grant or stamp duty concessions
- Move into the house within 12 months of the purchase and live there continuously for 6 months
Land Tax vs Stamp Duty
Whereas stamp duty is a once-off payment, the land tax (property tax) would be paid annually. So, instead of paying $30,090 as a lump sum in stamp duty costs, you would pay about $2,000 per year in property tax.
Although it may seem like paying a smaller tax bill each year is better than trying to save for stamp duty, it can be more expensive in the long run. With the property tax, you would have to pay it every year until you no longer own the property.
This is why over 90% of more than 250,000 home buyers who responded to the poll preferred to pay stamp duty instead of the property tax.
As we mentioned before, the First Home Buyer Choice is now closed, and first homeowners in NSW can now take advantage of the increased property price caps for stamp duty exemption.
What Other First Home Buyer Grants Am I Eligible For?
As a first home buyer in NSW, you are eligible for other grants and schemes, such as the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper and the First Home Owner Grant.
Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper
If you are a key worker in the following fields, you can also qualify for the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper:
- early childhood educators or
- police officers
Under this scheme, the NSW government will ‘help’ you buy a home by paying up to 40% of the purchase price of your property. This also means the government will own 40% of the equity in your home.
To be eligible, you must:
- Prove that the only way you can service a mortgage is through government help
- Be able to provide a 2% deposit
- Meet the income thresholds
- Be ready to move into your home from the day of settlement.
More information is available on the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper Fact Sheet. You can download it here.
First Home Owner Grant (New Home)
This is a $10,000 grant given by the NSW to first home buyers. You can use this grant as part of your deposit to buy or build your first home.
The property must meet the following requirements:
- It is a brand new home – i.e. no one has lived in it before.
- It is not worth more than $600,000
- If you are building, the combined value of the land and house must not exceed $750,000
In addition to these property requirements, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You or your partner should not have owned a home in Australia before
- You must be an Australian citizen who is 18 years or older
- You must live in the house for 12 continuous months.
You can apply for the NSW First Home Owner Grant online. Click here to lodge an application.
Ready To Buy A Home In NSW?
Our team at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in NSW. Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one-person operations, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to helping make your home loan journey as simple as possible.