How To Get Ahead When Buying Your First Home In Caloundra

June 27, 2024

Caloundra has always been a popular area with first home buyers.

However, over the past couple of years, it’s become much harder to get a foot on the property ladder – the result of rising interest rates, increasing property prices, and cost of living pressures.

Despite this perfect storm, there are still many options for those wanting to buy their first home. Here are the grants and schemes that can help first home buyers wanting to buy in and around Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast.

Are you eligible to receive $30,000 for the First Home Owner Grant?

In late 2023, the Queensland government announced it was doubling the First Home Owner Grant from $15,000 to $30,000 for properties valued under $750,000.

The move, which aims to counter the cost of living crisis, has helped stimulate buyer activity. The Sunshine Coast News reported that first home buyers purchased more than half of the properties sold at Aura from January to March this year (up 24% on the same time last year).

But, while the First Home Owner Grant is currently the biggest grant available, it’s definitely not the only one.

Help with saving the deposit: the First Home Super Saver Scheme

The biggest challenge most first-home buyers face is saving a deposit. In fact, Domain estimates that for the combined Australian regions, it takes a couple aged 25-34 years old earning the average dual wage three years and 10 months to save the deposit for an entry-priced house. It’s slightly less for an apartment at three years and one month.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme can speed up saving a deposit because it allows eligible first home buyers to make voluntary contributions to their super, which they can then withdraw to buy a property. The benefit of this scheme is that the tax rate on super is just 15%, which is lower than most people’s marginal income tax rates. This can represent a real saving, especially for those paying a high marginal rate.

Avoid LMI and buy with a 5% deposit through the Home Buyer Guarantee Scheme

The Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee allows eligible Sunshine Coast buyers to purchase a home up to the value of $550,000 with a deposit of just 5%.

It’s part of a “family” of Home Guarantees Schemes that also includes the First Home Guarantee and Family Home Guarantee (for single parents), which all operate in a similar way. These schemes allow eligible buyers to purchase a home with a small deposit (e.g. 5%) without needing to take out costly lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

Interestingly, realestate.com.au reports that the number of first home buyers using the Home Guarantees Scheme to get onto the property ladder has risen from one in seven (in the 2021-2022 financial year) to nearly one in three (2022-2023).

Transfer duty exemptions

Transfer Duty (often known as Stamp Duty) can be a significant barrier to homeownership. In fact, the transfer duty on a $500,000 property would be $15,925. – and because buyers need to pay this upfront, they also need to save for it.

Eligible first home buyers in Queensland are exempt from transfer duty for properties under $500,000, and receive a discounted rate for properties between $500,000 and $550,000 – potentially another significant saving.

Family support for First Home Buyers

Research from Australian Housing Monitor showed that receiving financial help from parents or grandparents to buy a first home is increasingly common. More than 40% of first-home buyers are now financially assisted by their parents, compared to just 15% in the 1980s.

In fact, so many buyers now rely on help from their parents that the “bank of Mum and Dad” was named the nation’s ninth-largest mortgage lender in 2021 (ahead of big names like AMP and HSBC).

Perfect Sunshine Coast properties for first home buyers

Commonwealth Bank data reveals the average purchase price for a first home buyer in Australia was just under $629,000.

Here in Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast, the median house value is higher than that in most areas, as the chart below shows. But there is still plenty of stock for first home buyers to choose from.

Suburb Median house price Median apartment price
Caloundra $1,000,000 $667,500
Moffat Beach $1,472,500 $792,500
Golden Beach $1,100,000 $750,000
Pelican Waters $1,370,000 $863,500
Aroona $975,000
Little Mountain $960,000 $625,000
Caloundra West $750,000 $620,000
Baringa $742,500 $705,900

Some properties currently on the market that will appeal to first home buyers include:

Want more?

If you’re interested in investing in buying or selling property in Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast, get in touch.

Caloundra City Realty

Article by Caloundra City Realty

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