In a statistic that will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Australia has one of the least affordable housing markets in the world.
Sydney and Melbourne were ranked in the top 5 least affordable cities on the planet as of March 2022, while Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth also made the top 20. 1.
To help tackle to issue of housing affordability, the new Australian Federal Government has unveiled its “Help-to-Buy” scheme to get prospective home buyers into a home.
So, what is “Help-to-Buy” and how does it work?
What Is The "Help To Buy " Scheme?
The scheme aims to support 10,000 Australians purchasing a property. Essentially the Federal Government buys part of the property with the new homeowners, covering:
- 30% of the cost of an existing property, or
- 40% of the cost of a new build.
Once the house has been purchased the owner would have the option of purchasing more of the property from the Federal Government, or simply leave the shared ownership in place.
It will also allow buyers to purchase a home with a deposit of just 2% instead of the minimum 10% typically required by lenders as a minimum.
The homebuyers will also avoid having to pay lenders' mortgage insurance, representing as much as a $30,000 saving. 2.
Who Can Apply For "Help To Buy"?
The scheme is open to any Australian citizen over the age of 18 with a taxable income of up to $90,000 for singles and $120,000 for couples. The scheme isn’t just for first home buyers either – previous homeowners not currently in a property can apply.
Additional eligibility criteria include:
- Not owning any other property.
- Living in the purchased home as a primary residence.
- Additional costs like stamp duty, legal and bank fees must be covered by the buyer.
Price caps also apply and are dependent on the region in which you live. 3.
Other Similar Schemes
There are certain state-specific schemes across the country like “Help to Buy” but with different prerequisites and thresholds.
One example is Victoria’s Homebuyer Fund– which has higher deposit requirements (5%) and looser annual income thresholds ($125,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples) and contributes 25% of the cost of the home.
Another is Western Australia’s Home Buyers Assistance Account, which is a much more stringent grant of only up to $2000 on homes costing no more than $400,000.
1. Melissa Heagney "Sydney Melbourne among top five least affordable cities to buy a home" The Sydney Morning Herald, Published 17th March 2022.
2. & 3. "Helping More Australians Into Home Ownership" alp.org.au.