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Financial assistance for older first homebuyers

30 May 2023
• 5 minute read
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It’s not just millennials looking to step on to the property ladder. In fact, there are plenty of Australians of all ages on the journey to first homeownership.

Data from Housing Australia shows while people aged 25-34 take up the bulk of Home Guarantee Scheme places (about 54 per cent), places are accessed by adults spanning all age groups. In 2022, that included buyers aged between 50-59 who accounted for around three per cent of scheme recipients.

Whether you’ve graduated university or are looking to retire into a secure property, first homebuyer support is available through government grants and guarantees.*

We’ve helped Australians of all ages navigate the twists and turns of the journey to first homeownership. Let’s take a look at two of them. (*Home Guarantee Scheme eligibility criteria applies.)

Michelle’s story

Long-term renter Michelle, 58, always wanted a forever home with a garden. After moving in with her daughter and son-in-law to start saving, the Illawarra mum realised government support would make the journey faster than first expected.

“When I was younger, I was a single mum. I was never really in a position where I could purchase a home. I’ve always been lucky with long-term leases, but I wanted more security for when I was older.

“I knew about government grants and support for first homebuyers, but never really thought they would apply to me. My daughter and son-in-law knew more about them and encouraged me to explore my options. So, I went to my local Great Southern Bank branch and spoke about what level of deposit I’d need. Before I knew it, I was approved for a loan, and I was able to start looking. While there were some bumps in the road, I was happy to have home loan expert Nicole constantly taking my calls to help with the complexities of loans, approvals, and time frames. The Home Guarantee Scheme certainly did a lot to help my journey and I’d encourage people of all ages to explore what support is out there.”  

Michelle says she was very lucky to find a two-bedroom villa in Albion Park Rail, close to her family and within the price range required to be eligible under the Australian Government’s Home Guarantee Scheme.

“Since buying, I have started landscaping and doing minor renovations to the place and I’m looking forward to taking on the bathroom next.

“After doing my research, I realised I could have actually bought a home long ago. Don’t think it’s out of reach if you’re a single person, or only supported by a single wage.”

Michelle’s top tip: The range of government support is growing and changing all the time, so I’d suggest doing plenty of homework about what’s going to suit you best and the various eligibility requirements. For example, I didn’t realise there were caps on the number of spaces available every year – I was very lucky there were some places available at the time.

Malcolm and Camille’s story

Malcolm and Camille had been prepared for a long slog when they decided it was time to buy their first property in their late fifties. But after chatting with friends as well as a mortgage broker, the Victorian couple realised they had more options than they thought.

“We’ve always moved around and never really had a chance to settle down and buy. And while we always wanted to own a home, it previously seemed somewhat out of reach. But in our late fifties, we knew the window for homeownership was closing. We had been able to keep some money aside during COVID-19 and we decided the time was right to buy. We had some younger friends in the same boat as us, and that’s how we found out about the government’s support for first homebuyers. We weren’t entirely sure if we’d fit the bill, so we spoke to a broker, Kevin at Mortgage Choice.

“Kevin was able to narrow us down to a few loan options and help expedite any potential minefields along the way when it came to using what was then called the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (today called the Home Guarantee Scheme). We chose Great Southern Bank because their interest rates were good, and we knew we could manage the loan even with future possible rate increases.

“We were then able to find a really cool house in Pakenham, in Melbourne’s outer east, which ticked all the boxes and was also in our price range. We’ve absolutely loved living here since.”

Malcolm and Camille’s top tip: Don’t listen to all the narratives that make homeownership feel out of reach. There is a trend towards pessimism in the property market, but our experience proved otherwise – that buying is still possible. Our main advice is don't be discouraged before you even get to the start line.

Government support for first homebuyers

Buying your first home isn’t just a significant financial investment, it can also be an incredibly complex and time-consuming process. What stops many from taking advantage of the various government initiatives on offer is that they simply haven’t figured out which option is best suited to their needs.

So, let’s step through the basics of the Home Guarantee Scheme, an Australian Government initiative administered by the Housing Australia. It includes the following guarantees:

The First Home Guarantee (FHBG)

The First Home Guarantee allows eligible first homebuyers to purchase their first home sooner, with as little as a five per cent deposit and without the added cost of lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI). Both new and existing properties can be purchased by first-time buyers through the scheme, but there’s a limit to how many people can access it. There are 35,000 places available in the 2022-2023 financial year.

The Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (RFHBG)

The Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee aims to support eligible first homebuyers already living outside metropolitan areas of the country. The RFHBG can be used to purchase a home with as little as a five per cent deposit. Eligible regional first homebuyers can purchase in the regional area where they have lived during the past 12 months, or in an adjacent regional area. There are 10,000 places available for regional first homebuyers in the 2022-2023 financial year.

The Family Home Guarantee (FHG)

The Family Home Guarantee is another initiative under the umbrella of the Home Guarantee Scheme enabling a single parent with at least one dependent to purchase a property with a deposit as low as two per cent. You don’t need to be a first homebuyer to be eligible for this scheme.

What about the states and territories?

Depending on where you live, there are various state or territory-run schemes that could help you take the next step to homeownership. First homeowner grants are offered by all states and are probably the most well-known type of one-off state government support available to first-time purchasers of newly built, never-before-lived-in homes.

While every state has its own set of rules, grants can reach up to $20,000, and most have strict property value thresholds. While this can limit their use in expensive locations, like inner Melbourne or Sydney, they’ll go a long way if you’re looking to buy in an outer suburb or regional area.

There are also various concessions available for stamp duty.

We’re here to help

If you’re ready to buy your first home but are worried you’ve left it too late, feel free to give one of our friendly Home Loan Specialists a call on 133 282. Alternatively, you can always visit your nearest branch for a chat.

As you’ve seen, you might have more options than you think!

You can also visit the Housing Australia website for further information on the guarantees that fall under the Home Guarantee Scheme.

Important Information

Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238317. Conditions, fees and charges apply. This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the appropriateness of the information, including the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) booklet, before acting on it. The Financial Claims Scheme may apply to this product; refer to the T&Cs for more information.

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