For most people, a home will be the single biggest investment in their lives.
In amongst the gentle slopes of ordinary savings patterns towards household items like televisions, laptops or overseas getaways, saving for a house deposit is a mountain.
Recent home buying research carried out by St. George bank revealed the entire process of saving and planning for a first home took almost ten years.
"We are seeing many pain points experienced along that savings journey, including giving up holidays, reducing entertainment expenses, having to move back home with parents, moving in with friends or even leaning on family members to help top-up savings," St. George general manager Ross Miller said.
The research showed that our buying habits may be changing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with one-third of Australians wanting to save for their home more quickly, while Australians' buying desires were shifting away from apartments.
For the estimated one in ten house-hunters who will be buying for the first time, there are avenues available to help short-cut the savings journey.
The Commonwealth Government's First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, introduced on January 1, 2020, will allow a total of 20,000 first home buyers to enter the property market this year with as little as a five per cent deposit and no requirement for Lenders Mortgage Insurance. There are limits on the house price and age to be eligible to apply. This scheme can be used in conjunction with State-based first home buyer schemes and stamp duty concessions.
In NSW, home owners are offered grants of $10,000 towards the purchase price of a home. The home must be new and worth no more than $750,000. The NSW First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme offers a full or partial exemption on transfer duty, with conditions. As part of the schemes, you must move into the home within 12 months and live there continuously for at least six months. It is only for Australian citizens over the age of 18.
NSW has also abolished stamp duty on homes up to $650,000 and lowered it on homes under $800,000.
In Victoria, buyers also have access to $10,000 towards the purchase price of a family home, townhouse or apartment valued at $750,000 or less. It must be the first sale of the property as residential premises and the home must be less than five years old. As an added incentive for Victoria's regions, buyers outside metropolitan areas can access an additional $10,000 towards their home.
Victorian who have bought their first home since July 2017 have had a duty exemption or concession. It has the same eligibility requirements as the First Home Owner Grant.
If you are intending to build a new home, the federal government's HomeBuilder program, announced in June this year, will give eligible owner-occupiers, including first home buyers, a grant of $25,000. It can be used to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.