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    Buying your first home is a big deal. As well as the excitement, there’s a lot to research, and plenty of jargon to untangle before you can feel ready to make a move. We’re here to help guide you step-by-step through the process

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    A guide to first home buyer grants and schemes

    As a first home buyer, preparing to purchase your first home can become a perplexing (and quite frankly, daunting) task if you don’t know where to begin. 

    Fortunately, Australians are afforded many opportunities to reduce costs and speed up the home buying process through various government incentives and grants. 

    Understanding these grants and knowing whether you can qualify for them can potentially save you days of work and thousands of dollars on your mortgage. However, the frequent updates and amendments to these incentives can often leave first home buyers scratching their heads over what they can and can’t leverage. 

    That’s why over at Homestar Finance, we’ve put together a detailed breakdown of every single incentive available to first home buyers, to help you navigate through the noise and get familiar with all of the cost saving opportunities available at your fingertips. 

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    First home buyer home loans

    Explore our market-leading range of mortgage options, rates and features: 

    Star Choice

    Variable principal & interest

    6.59%

    Interest rate p.a.1a

    6.26%

    Comparison rate p.a.1a,2


    • Revert rate features
    • Up to 90% LVR
    • Offset account
    • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments
    • Visa Debit card with ATM access
    • Unrestricted extra repayments
    • Free online redraws
    • Multiple loan splits
    • Pay Anyone, BPAY® and digital wallet payments
    • Schedule recurring payments or transfers
    • Lender Paid LMI
    Find out more

    Star Classic

    Variable principal & interest

    6.09%

    Interest rate p.a.1a

    6.09%

    Comparison rate p.a.1a,2


    • Up to 80% LVR
    • Offset account
    • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments
    • Visa Debit card with ATM access
    • Unrestricted extra repayments
    • Free online redraws
    • Multiple loan splits
    • Pay anyone, BPAY® and digital wallet payments
    • Schedule recurring payments or transfers
    Find out more

    Star Classic Fixed

    Fixed principal & interest

    6.95%

    Interest rate p.a.1a

    6.21%

    Comparison rate p.a.1a,2


    • Up to 80% LVR
    • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments
    • Extra repayments up to 20k p.a.
    • Free online redraws
    • Multiple loan splits
    • Pay anyone, BPAY® and digital wallet payments
    • Schedule recurring payments or transfers
    Find out more

    Star Essentials

    Variable principal & interest

    5.99%

    Interest rate p.a.1a

    5.99%

    Comparison rate p.a.1a,2


    • Up to 80% LVR
    • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments
    • Unrestricted extra repayments
    • Free online redraws
    • Multiple loan splits
    • Pay anyone, BPAY®  and digital wallet access
    • Schedule recurring payments or transfers
    Find out more

    Star Classic

    Variable principle and interest

    6.39%

    Interest rate p.a.1b

    6.42%

    Comparison rate p.a.1b,2


    • Up to 80% LVR
    • Offset Account
    • Visa Debit Card Provided with ATM Access
    • Unrestricted Extra Repayments
    • Free Online Redraws
    • Pay Anyone & BPAY® Available
    • Multiple Loan Splits Possible
    • Weekly, Fortnightly or Monthly Repayments
    • Schedule Recurring Payments or Transfers
    Find out more

    Star Classic

    Variable interest only

    6.79%

    Interest rate p.a.1b

    6.82%

    Comparison rate p.a.1b,2


    • Up to 80% LVR
    • Offset Account
    • Visa Debit Card Provided with ATM Access
    • Unrestricted Extra Repayments
    • Free Online Redraws
    • Pay Anyone & BPAY® Available
    • Multiple Loan Splits Possible
    • Monthly Repayments Only
    • Schedule Recurring Payments or Transfers
    Find out more

    Star Classic Fixed

    Fixed principal & interest from

    7.35%

    Interest rate p.a.1b

    6.52%

    Comparison rate p.a.1b,2


    • Up to 80% LVR
    • Extra Repayments up to 20k p.a.
    • Free Online Redraws
    • Pay Anyone & BPAY® Available
    • Multiple Loan Splits Possible
    • Weekly, Fortnightly or Monthly Repayments
    • Schedule Recurring Payments or Transfers
    Find out more

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    Which first home buyer grants are currently available?

    There are a myriad of grants, incentives and exemptions available to first home owners in Australia. The main 4 categories that these financial aid incentives fall under are as follows:

    • First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)
    • Stamp Duty Exemptions
    • Home Guarantee Scheme
    • Other

    Some of these, such as the first home owners grant and stamp duty exemptions are controlled and regulated by individual states and territories. On the other hand, schemes made available as part of the wider Home Guarantee Scheme operate on a federal level and are managed by third party government agencies like the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

    Most state level grants and exemptions are handed out based solely on eligibility criteria and are available to anybody who meets the relevant criteria. Whereas, federal schemes usually have a limit on the number of applicants accepted and qualifying requirements tend to be more situation-specific. 

    Rest assured, however, that almost all first home buyers in Australia are usually eligible for some sort of financial assistance and even if you do not qualify for one of these grants, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be ineligible for all of them. 

    In fact, some first home buyers may be eligible to benefit from multiple grants as long as they meet the appropriate requirements. Moreover, there are some grants or incentives in this article that are also available to non-first home buyers as well. 

    Continue reading to find out more about each specific grant and how they can help you as a prospective property owner.

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    First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)

    The First Home Owners Grant is a state-specific, one-off payment designed to provide home buyers with a much needed financial boost when purchasing their first property. Although the grant itself is standardised across the country, the amount provided by the FHOG and the qualifying conditions do vary across states and territories. 

    At the fundamental level, the FHOG’s basic qualifying criteria remains the same for all Australians:

    • You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
    • You must be at least 18 years of age.
    • You must move into the property within 12 months, and must occupy the property as your principal place of residence for at least 6-12 continuous months.

    However, each state has different qualification criteria when it comes to the property itself. For instance, some states only provide the FHOG to homebuyers purchasing or constructing a new home (no previous occupier). Whereas, other states may approve the grant for “substantially renovated homes”.  

    Available only to those buying or constructing a new home (no previous occupier) or in certain states) “substantially renovated homes”. Furthermore, most densely populated states also have a property value limit for FHOG qualification. 

    For each state and territory, click on theorange plus iconicons on the interactive map to view the value of the FHOG and property requirements.

    Learn more about the First Home Owner Grant here.

    Australian territories
    Australian Capital Territory The FHOG ceased in the ACT from July 2019.
    New South Wales A $10,000 FHOG grant is available for people building or buying a new home NSW. Available for new or substantially renovated homes valued up to $600,000 or up to $750,000 for a combined land and home package.
    Victoria A $10,000 FHOG is available to buy or build a new home in VIC when the total property value is $750,00 or less.
    Queensland A FHOG of $15,000 for buying or building a new home in QLD or buying a substantially renovated home. Applicable for a combined land and property value up to $750,000.
    South Australia For properties valued $575,000 or less, a grant of $15,000 is available in SA for building or buying a new home.
    Northern Territory A $10,000 FHOG for NT buyers to build or purchase an existing new home of any value.
    Western Australia A location dependent FHOG of up to $10,000 for building or buying a new home in WA. The total property value is up to $750,000 for Perth metropolitan areas ‘south of the 26th parallel’ and up to $1 million for properties ‘north of the 26th parallel’.
    Tasmania A $30,000 FHOG for TAS buyers who build or purchase new existing homes of any value.

    What type of property can qualify for the first home owners grant?

    In the context of the First Home Owners Grant, a qualifying “home” can include:

    • Vacant land on which you intend to construct a home
    • A new property including a house, flat, unit, townhouse, apartment, etc.

    Generally speaking, as long as you are purchasing a home for the first time and you intend to occupy the home as a primary place of residence, your property should be eligible for the FHOG. 

    Do keep in mind that if the property exceeds the state-specific property price threshold, there is no way to qualify for the First Home Owners Grant, although you may still be eligible for other schemes and stamp duty concessions.  

    You may be able to apply for multiple grants or be exempt by receiving specific grants. Check the eligibility criteria. 

    Stamp duty exemptions

    Stamp duty is a one-time dutiable tax that applies when you purchase a high-value asset, i.e. a property (or transfer a property title into your name). 

    Also referred to as transfer duty or land transfer duty, the total amount is usually payable after settlement and the amount payable will vary depending on your location and circumstances. 

    Typically, the stamp duty payable depends on the property value. Stamp duty exemptions are usually available to first home buyers who are purchasing a property under the relevant property price cap. However, you may still be eligible for stamp duty concessions even if you are not a first-time buyer or purchasing a high-value property.

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    Each state and territory has its own stamp duty concessions and eligibility requirements. Most states follow these general guidelines when it comes to stamp duty exemptions. 

    • You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
    • You must be at least 18 years old (There may be some exceptions to this rule, i.e. QLD).
    • You must also move into the property within 12 months, and occupy the property as a principal place of residence for at least 6-12 months
    • Your total household income must be under the state-specific threshold 
    • Must not dispose (sell, transfer, lease or otherwise grant exclusive possession) of all or part of the property before you move in.

    The following is a list of stamp duty exemptions and concessions specific to each state:

    In lieu of the abolished FHOG, the Home Buyer Concession Scheme offers ACT home buyers a stamp duty concession of $34,790 for all home and land properties. Total household income thresholds are based on the number of dependent children and $186,650 is the maximum.

    Under the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, eligible NSW buyers may be exempt from all or part of the transfer duty tax when purchasing any property (new, existing, or vacant land) valued up to $1 million. Additionally, NSW first home buyers have the option with the First Home Buyer Choice, NSW first home buyers have the option of yearly property taxes instead of lump sum stamp duty on properties up to $1.5 million.

    A stamp duty exemption is available for all house and land packages of any value under the House and Land Package Exemption (HLPE). (Amount of exemption? $) 

    There are 3 options for stamp duty concessions in QLD. First home owners can save up to $15,925 on stamp duty for homes valued $550,000 and under. If the home is over $550,000, then buyers can apply alongside all other homeowners for a concession, saving up to $7,175 in total duty fees, regardless of property value. The concession for buying vacant land valued under $400,000 to build your first home can bring you savings of $7,175.

    There are no stamp duty concessions or exemptions in SA for all types of property buyers.

    50% tax duty concession for first home buyers of established homes with a property value of $600,000 or less. 

    First home buyers of new or existing homes are eligible for full stamp duty exemption on properties valued at up to $600,000. With a 50% stamp duty concession for properties valued between $600,000 and $750,000. First home buyers of property valued no more than $200,000 can also apply for a family exemption or concession of stamp duty.  All buyers are eligible for stamp duty concession for properties valued up to $550,000 that will be a principal place of residence for at least 12 months.

    Most states also have additional tax concessions available, such as the off-the-plan concession available in Victoria. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the concessions and exemptions available in your specific state, as you may be able to shave thousands of dollars off out-of-pocket costs.

    What is the Home Guarantee Scheme?

    The Home Guarantee Scheme is the overarching term for a series of federal-level grants that have been introduced to try and provide financial assistance to Australians in need. 

    These schemes generally look to guarantee a portion of the property value, so that Australians can get their foot in the door sooner and with fewer upfront costs. 

    The wider Home Guarantee Scheme has been subject to multiple changes after the results of the 2022 Australian Federal Election, so it can be a bit tricky to keep up with the changes. 

    As of now, however, these are the schemes that are available to Australians under the Home Guarantee Scheme:

    We’re here to break down these nationwide schemes both new and old, as well as any updated or removed schemes so that you can get a clear picture of exactly what type of financial assistance is available to you.

    couple getting their first home

    First Home Guarantee (FHBG)

    The First Home Guarantee has recently been implemented by the Australian Government to replace and combine two previous schemes: the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) and the New Home Guarantee (NHG). It combines the benefits of both to create an overarching scheme that’s more accessible and available to homebuyers.

    The purpose of the FHBG is to eliminate the need for a substantial deposit and assist home buyers by speeding up the process of purchasing their first home. 

    Under the First Home Guarantee, the government guarantees a portion of your home loan (up to 15%), meaning that you could purchase a home with only a 5% deposit while also avoiding costly lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) premiums. 

    Couple getting a key from agent

    The FHBG has been made available to 35,000 individuals over the next financial year (1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023) and is managed by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).  

    If you’re curious about eligibility criteria or further information regarding the First Home Guarantee, make sure to visit Homestar Finance’s comprehensive breakdown of the FHBG

    First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS)

    As mentioned above, the First Home Guarantee is intended to replace two previously existing schemes. Of these, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme was specifically designed to assist with the purchase of a new or existing residential property.

    Eligible property included:

    • an existing house, townhouse or apartment properties). 
    • A house and land package 
    • Land and a separate contract to build a home 
    • an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse.

    The terms of the FLHDS were almost identical to the First Home Guarantee but it had been limited to only 10,000 applicants. 

    New Home Guarantee (NHG)

    Like the FHLDS, the New Home Guarantee followed the exact same grant conditions as the First Home Guarantee, i.e. the government would insure up to 15% of the home loan, reducing the amount of deposit required for first home buyers.  

    However, the New Home Guarantee was specifically designed to help first home buyers in purchasing or constructing a new home, rather than an established or existing home. 

    The NHG was also restricted to 10,000 applicants, meaning that the First Home Guarantee provides financial assistance to more Australians than both of the previous schemes combined.

    Family Home Guarantee (FHG)

    The Family Home Guarantee is a federal-level scheme that looks to alleviate the burden of purchasing a residential home for single parents. Any single parents with dependents, looking to purchase their first home are eligible for the FHG. 

    Much like the FHBG, under the Family Home Guarantee, the NHFIC will guarantee a portion of your home loan so that you are able to purchase the home quicker and with less deposit. The FHG can insure up to 18% of the mortgage, meaning that if eligible, single parents can purchase a home using as little as a 2% deposit without incurring LMI.  

    Close up smiling loving young father hugging adorable little daughter stock photo

    Unlike other schemes on this list, however, the FHG is not only limited to first home buyers. Family Home Guarantee applicants can be either first home buyers or previous owners who do not currently own a home. This includes:

    • Any freehold interest in real property in Australia 
    • Any lease of land in Australia 
    • Any company title interest in land in Australia

    Other relevant qualifying conditions for the Family Home Guarantee include property price caps and income restrictions. 

    If you believe you may qualify for the FHG, be sure to check relevant information provided by the NHFIC and check with your lender to see if you are eligible to apply.

    Incoming additions to the Home Guarantee Scheme

    Along with updates to the Home Guarantee Scheme, the 2022 Election has also brought about some much-needed additions that are sure to make things easier for many first home buyers around Australia.

    Regional Home Guarantee (RHG)

    The Regional Home Guarantee was announced as part of the 2022-23 Federal Budget to try and provide more support for prospective homeowners looking to purchase outside of the densely populated major cities.

    Starting October 2022, under the RHG, 10,000 eligible applicants will be guaranteed up to 15% of their home loan. Meaning, anyone purchasing a home within eligible rural areas will be able to leverage the RHG to purchase a home with just a 5% minimum deposit. 

    Similar to the Family Home Guarantee, the Regional Home Guarantee will be made available to non-first home buyers as well, so long as they meet the other relevant requirements. 

    homeowners looking to purchase outside of the densely populated major cities.

    Help to Buy Scheme

    The soon to be introduced Help to Buy Scheme looks to cut the initial cost of buying a home by up to 40%. Introduced by the Labor Government as part of their 2022 Election campaign, the scheme will open to 10,000 Australians by the end of the year.

    Under the Help to Buy Scheme, the government will contribute a maximum of:

    • 40% of the purchase price of a new home 
    • 30% of the purchase price of an existing home.

    and applicants will only be required to have a minimum of 2% deposit at the ready. 

    Although this means that the government will own equity in your home, you will be able to purchase the equity back when you are in a financially stable situation (at a minimum of 5% at a time).  

    Though the finer details are yet to be finalised, like other schemes, there will be limits imposed on property value and personal eligibility criteria. You can check some of these preliminary qualifying conditions on the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Website

    Smiling young multiethnic couple using digital tablet together at home

    Other forms of first home buyer assistance

    Outside of the Home Guarantee Scheme and state-specific FHOGs, there are also other incentives that are available to help first home buyers. 

    HomeBuilder

    HomeBuilder was a previously state-specific grant that provided eligible owner-occupiers with a one-off lump sum payment to assist in building a new home, substantially renovating an existing home, or buying a home off the plan.

    HomeBuilder looked to provide a $15,000 grant for contracts entered between 1 January 2021 – 31 March 2021 and a $25,000 grant for contracts entered between 4 June 2020 – 31 December 2020. Applications have since closed on the 14 April 2021 and are no longer available.

    As a first home buyer residing in Australia, there are many opportunities for financial assistance. Depending on your individual circumstances and eligibility, you may even be able to leverage multiple grants and incentives for the same property. If you are unsure where to begin your search, be sure to check out some of the most competitive loans on the market

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    Do your research

    No matter how much you love a property, you need to base your decision on more than gut feel.
    See if you can get hold of a suburb profile, which can help you get a clearer picture of the neighbourhood and estimated sale/rental prices.

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    Location

    You should also check out the lifestyle factors you need today, like public transport and local facilities, or maybe tomorrow, like access to schools and hospitals. You should also try and find out if there are any development applications nearby that could impact the property in the future.

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    Price

    Make sure you’ve seen enough potential properties to know what works for you, and what doesn’t. Check out how much similar properties in the area sell for – in good times and bad.

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    Extra costs

    If you’re buying an apartment, be sure to get hold of the strata report- in advance to discover any upcoming maintenance projects that could affect your strata costs. If you’re buying a house, an up–to–date building condition and pest inspection report is essential.

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    How much deposit do I need?

    A good place to start is to get an idea of how much you might be able to borrow. Then you’ll not only be able to take a look at what’s on the market in your price range, you’ll also have some indication of what size deposit you’ll need. Generally, most lenders like a 20% deposit of the purchase price of the property. If you have less than 20% deposit but you’re still keen to purchase, there are options available that could help you buy a property sooner.

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    1 Rates shown apply to new eligible Owner Occupieda or Investment loansb only, loan limits may apply depending on your product (refer to the product page) and at least one applicant is on PAYG employment. After a fixed rate term, a variable rate will apply. Rates are subject to change without notice. Existing borrowers may have different interest rates which are dependent on the rate offered to the borrower at the date when a home loan settled and any reductions or increases the lender decided to make on the existing loan over time. Accordingly, there is not one standard variable rate that applies to all Homestar home loans and existing customers can confirm their current rate(s) by logging in to internet banking or by contacting customer service. Terms, conditions, and eligibility criteria apply.

    2 Comparison rates are based on a basic Homestar loan, on a $150,000 loan amount over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

    Other fees and charges may apply.

    DISCLAIMER: Terms, conditions and eligibility criteria apply to all our loan products and features. Fees, charges and disbursements are payable. Final approval is subject to credit assessment. Information valid as at 18th April 2024 which is subject to change without notice. Please consider if the product is appropriate for your individual circumstances. If you need assistance or have any questions about a product or feature and its suitability, please contact our Loan Specialists.

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