The First Home Owners Grant as we know it today was established to help first home buyers offset the higher housing costs associated with the introduction of the GST on 1 July 2000.
As such, if you or your spouse have ever owned a home before 1 July 2000 you are not eligible for the grant. However, if you have owned a home since that date, but purely as an investment and have never lived in it, you could still be eligible for the grant. The Grant is a cash payment from the State Government in conjunction with a rebate on land transfer stamp duty, and at peak value could be worth around $25 000 to you. Note that there are upper limits on the purchase price which also determine eligibility for the Grant.
The particular rule that applies here, states: “applicants and/or their spouses must not have previously purchased and occupied residential property, anywhere in Australia, as a place of residence on or after 1 July 2000.”
Therefore, this may be your second, third or fourth property, however if you hadn’t lived in any of the previous properties and have not ever received the Grant for any of those properties, you could be eligible for the Grant next time around.
This also means that if you have owned property overseas, you are not excluded from qualifying for the grant, and owning vacant land also will not affect your eligibility.
Another technicality often misunderstood is the requirement to live in the property as your principle place of residence.
While you must indeed reside in the property for a continuous period of 6 months, you do not need to move in straight away. In fact, you can leave it for nearly one year and rent the house out for some additional cash, or until the lease on your own property expires.
Just make sure that you do establish the home as your principal residence within that 12 month timeframe though, or you will have to pay back the Grant!
More information can be found by phoning the Western Australian Office of State Revenue on 1300 363 211, or by giving us a call!