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Eligibility for the first home owners’ grant

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Before you apply for the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant, you (and your spouse) must have an eligible transaction and meet the other following criteria.

Age

You (and any co-applicants for the grant) are a natural person (an individual) aged 18 years or older.

In some exceptional circumstances, the Commissioner of State Revenue may use discretion in relation to some eligibility criteria, such as:

  • you are under 18 years of age
  • an application is made on behalf of a legal disability trust by a guardian.

Citizenship

You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is).

If you are applying for the grant as a joint applicant—for example, you are not a permanent resident but your spouse is an Australian citizen—you may be eligible for the grant if you meet the other eligibility requirements.

A permanent resident holds a permanent visa, or is a New Zealand citizen with a special category visa, as defined by the Migration Act 1958 (Cwlth).

A New Zealand citizen with a special category visa must have a current New Zealand passport to be a permanent resident.

You can check if your visa is permanent or temporary by clicking on its subclass in the visa list.

Previous grant recipient

You or your spouse must not have previously received a first home owner grant in any state or territory of Australia. If you received a grant that you later paid back, together with any penalty, you may be able to reapply for the grant.

Previous home ownership

You or your spouse must not have owned residential property in Australia:

  • on or after 1 July 2000 that you lived in
  • before 1 July 2000, whether you lived in it or not.

Investment properties

The grant is not available to purchase investment properties.

If you have owned an interest in residential property since 1 July 2000 that has been solely used for investment purposes, you may be eligible for the grant on a subsequent new property that will be your first home to live in.

You will need to show that you have not lived in the investment property by providing evidence that covers the entire period of ownership:

  • tenancy or lease agreements
  • electricity or phone accounts
  • tax return details declaring the rental property.

Residence requirements

You must move into your brand new home as your principal place of residence within 1 year of the completed transaction, and live there continuously for 6 months.

You can rent out one or more rooms in the home during your 6-month residency period, as long as this arrangement doesn’t affect your use of the home. However, renting out any rooms in the first year after you move in may affect your eligibility for the first home concession or first home vacant land concession.

Even though the residence requirements for the grant are similar to those for the first home concession, the grant and concession are separate benefits—you need to meet the requirements in each case. For example, you can rent the home out before moving in and keep the grant, but you may lose the first home concession.

You may be required to verify that you have met these requirements later, by providing documentation supporting the period of occupancy for all applicants.

In some exceptional circumstances, the Commissioner may use discretion in relation to some eligibility criteria if you:

  • move into the home after 1 year
  • live in the home less than 6 months.

Compare the requirements for first home concessions and the first home owners’ grant.

Disqualifying arrangements

Even if you meet the eligibility criteria, there are some circumstances that may stop you from getting the grant. For example:

  • you enter into an arrangement to circumvent limitations on, or requirements affecting, eligibility or entitlement to the grant
  • you enter into an arrangement with the sole purpose of obtaining the grant, rather than acquiring a home
  • you buy or build your new home with financial help from a related person (who is not eligible for the grant) who will also stay in the home often or for long periods of time, and the Commissioner is not satisfied there are genuine family reasons for the related person to occupy the home. (Money borrowed from a bank or lending institution is not considered to be financial help.)

If there is a disqualifying arrangement, we will not pay the grant. If the grant has already been paid, you will have to repay it.

Eligible transactions

You must be buying or building a new home valued less than $750,000 (including land).

The home:

New home

new home is a brand new dwelling that has not been previously occupied as a place of residence or sold as a place of residence.

You do not have a contract to purchase a new home (including off-the-plan purchases or substantial renovations) if you have both a land purchase contract andbuilding contract.

The grant may be available for homes that have been moved from one site to another, as long as the home has not been occupied since being fixed to the new site (including kit homes, manufactured homes).

Examples

Natalie has entered into a house and land package where she has a contract with a developer to purchase land and a contract with the developer’s selected builder to construct her new home. A new home contract is for the acquisition of the relevant land on which a new home is built by the vendor and at the expense of the vendor. As Natalie entered into a separate contract with a builder, she has not entered into a contract to purchase a new home.

If Natalie met the other eligibility criteria, the home may be eligible as a contract to build transaction.

Jakob and Brian entered into a contract to purchase a townhouse in a strata title complex. At the time of entering into the contract, the complex had already been subdivided and the lot and plans registered.

At the time of sale, the vendor provided a statement confirming the home had never been sold or used as a place of residence. The townhouse may be eligible as a new home because the home had not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence.

Arya entered into a contract to purchase a newly built apartment from her friend. Arya’s friend purchased the home off the plan from a developer, but chose not to move into the home and onsold it to Arya. Although the apartment has not been lived in, the apartment has been sold as a place of residence and is not eligible for the grant.

Whether a home is sold as a place of residence is based on the essential character of the home. It is not dependent on the reasons or intentions of the parties or how the home is used, either before or after the sale.

Carlos and Lupita have recently moved into their new home, 4 months after settlement. The move was delayed because there were tenants residing in the home under a lease with the previous owner. This home is not eligible because the home has previously been lived in and sold as a place of residence.

Off-the-plan purchase

An off-the-plan purchase is a single contract to buy a new home and the relevant interest in the land, which is a proposed lot on an unregistered plan resulting from a subdivision. In some cases, the property may not have been built yet.

For example, the purchase of a unit in a unit block, where the unit’s individual lot and plan description will not be available until the strata title has been registered.

Examples

Eleanor entered into a contract to purchase a unit within a development that is currently under construction. The contract to purchase describes the property as a proposed lot because the development has not been subdivided and strata titled yet.

At settlement, the lot and plan description has been registered and the vendor provided the final inspection certificate showing the unit was ready for occupation after the contract commencement date. The unit may be eligible as an off-the-plan transaction because the lot and plan description was registered after the contract.

Mateo has a contract with a developer to purchase a registered block of vacant land that will have a house built on it. He picked the house design, colours and other specifications when entering into the contract from the developer's selection. Mateo believes he has purchased a house off the plan because he selected the plans and specifications himself. However, the lot and plan description of the property had already been registered prior to the contract date.

If Mateo met the other eligibility criteria, the house may be eligible as a new home transaction. Because the transaction is a new home, the vendor must provide a statement confirming the house has never been lived in or sold as a place of residence.

Substantial renovation

The home:

  • must be substantially renovated before you buy it
  • must not have been lived in since the renovation.

The seller:

  • must be registered for GST and be selling the home as a taxable supply in the course of their business
  • must give you a tax invoice that shows the GST component of the home purchase price (as evidence that the sale is a taxable supply)
  • must give you a statement that confirms the house has never been sold or occupied since the renovation, the sale of the home is a taxable supply and a description of the type and extent of the renovations.

A substantial renovation is when all, or most, of the structural or non-structural components of a building are removed or replaced.

Most of the rooms in the building must have been affected, and the renovations must have affected the building as a whole for it to be considered a substantial renovation. However, the renovations do not need to involve removal or replacement of foundations, external walls, interior supporting walls, floors, roof or staircases.

A home has not been substantially renovated if:

  • only cosmetic work has been done to the home (e.g. painting)
  • only 1 part of the building has been renovated (e.g. renovation of 1 bedroom in a 4-bedroom house; removal and replacement of a kitchen and bathroom with little else being done to the building, apart from minor repair work).

Examples

Rania is a self-employed florist and is registered for GST. She bought a house, with the intention of doing it up and ‘flipping’ it. She contracted a builder to carry out the renovations.

Even though Rania might sell the house with a statement confirming she is registered for GST, the house is not eligible for the grant because she is not selling it as part of her florist business and GST would not be paid on the sale of the home.

Nick and Emma are self-employed builders and are registered for GST. They bought a house and made substantial renovations before putting it on the market.

At the time of sale, they provided a statement as evidence of the taxable supply and confirmed the home had not been sold or used as a place of residence since the renovation. The house may be eligible as a substantially renovated home because they sold it in the course of their business.

Juan applies for a grant for a large 4-bedroom house that he believes had been substantially renovated by the vendor. The documentation provided by Juan shows that:

  • the house had not been occupied as a residence or otherwise sold since the renovations were completed
  • the renovations consisted of remodelling the kitchen and recarpeting the bedrooms.

The house is not eligible as a substantially renovated home because the work performed did not remove or replace most of the building. Further, the sale of the property was not a taxable supply under the GST Act.

Contract to build

For a contract to build a new home to be eligible, it must be a comprehensive home building contract. That is, a builder undertakes to build a home from the start of the building work (laying of foundations) to the point where the home is ready for occupation (final inspection certificate issued).

Examples

Karim purchased a vacant block of land from a developer and entered into a building contract with the developer’s selected builder. Karim selected his house design and other specifications himself when entering into the contract. As long as Karim is the registered owner of the land prior to completion of the home, the home may be eligible as a contract to build transaction.

Jessica and Amina entered into a home building contract with a licensed builder. The contract excluded benchtops in the kitchen—these were being installed by a third party external to the contract. Because benchtops are required for the home to be certified as a liveable dwelling, the home is not a comprehensive home building contract.

If Jessica and Amina met the other eligibility criteria, the home may be eligible as an owner–builder transaction.

Tim purchased a vacant block of land in October 2017 for $350,000. Since Tim purchased the land, he has made some improvements such as building a shed, installing water tanks and improving the fence surrounding the property.

In November 2021, Tim entered into a contract to build his first home for a consideration of $345,000. By that time, the unencumbered value of the land had increased to $475,000 as a result of the rising land value and the improvements made to the land.

To be eligible for the grant, the value of the new home (i.e. the consideration for the building contract and the unencumbered value of the land as at the contract date) must be less than $750,000. In this example, the house is not eligible because the total transaction value is $820,000 ($345,000 + $475,000).

Owner–builder

You are an owner–builder if you build a home—or have a home built—on land you own without entering into a comprehensive home building contract.

You may do one of the following:

  • undertake the responsibility of building your own home from start to finish as an owner–builder
  • have a building contract with one or more builders where one builder is not solely responsible for the home from start to finish.

The home must be a qualifying residence (i.e. a class 1a dwelling as defined by the Australian Building Codes Board) and have a final inspection certificate. Depending on the commencement date of the build, you may be eligible for a previous grant amount.

Examples

Tareq entered into a contract to build a new house on a vacant block of land. He is a registered electrician and decided to exclude all electricity from his building contract to perform the work himself. In order for a home to be ready for occupation, the electricity must be complete before certification. The house may be eligible because essential work was excluded from the contract.

Melissa bought a relocatable house from a business specialising in restored Queenslanders. The business moved the house to the vacant land that Melissa had bought the previous month. They installed the home, but Melissa connected the home to the services. Because Melissa performed the connections herself, the house may be eligible.

Matias is a registered owner–builder and is building his new home on vacant land. He bought the land in 2013 for $250,000 but did not start on his home until 2019. By that time, the land value had increased to $410,000. When the new home was completed in 2021, the total cost of construction was $370,000.

To be eligible for the grant, the value of the new home including the land must be less than $750,000. For owner–builders, the total value is the cost to construct the home and the value of the land at the time foundations are laid. In this example, the house is not eligible because the total transaction value is $780,000 ($410,000 + $370,000).