All about the new Victorian Homebuyer Fund
The Victorian Homebuyer Fund is a shared equity scheme that provides eligible homebuyers with contributions of up to 25% of their property purchase price from the Victorian Government.
This will reduce the minimum required deposit to 5% and avoid the need for Lenders Mortgage Insurance. Eligible Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander homebuyers can receive contributions of up to 35% with a minimum required deposit of 3.5%.
What is a Share Equity Scheme?
A shared equity scheme means that the State receives a share or proportional interest in the property in exchange for their contribution, which proportionally change in value along with the value of the property. This means the Homebuyer Fund will share in any gains in your property’s value.
Participants can repay the Homebuyer Fund’s share, or interest in their property over time. Repayments can be made by refinancing, using savings, and from proceeds when the property is sold.
Who is eligible for the Homebuyer Fund?
Eligibility criteria for applicants:
- You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- You must be 18 years of age or over on date of settlement.
- You must have saved the required minimum deposit of your property price.
- Your annual earnings must be $125,000 or less for individuals, or $200,000 or less for joint applicants.
- You must occupy the purchased property as your principal place of residence.
Eligibility criteria for the property:
- The property must be in Metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong or another eligible regional location.
- For the full list of regional locations please read the eligible locations provided by the State Revenue Office.
- The property must be a standard residential property such as a house, townhouse, unit or apartment (vacant land is not eligible).
- The property cannot exceed the maximum purchase price of:
- $950,000 or less in Metropolitan Melbourne and Geelong
- $600,000 or less in other eligible regional locations
- The purchase can be for an existing or new property provided that a certificate of occupancy has been issued prior to the date of the contract of sale. This means off-the-plan property purchases are not eligible.
- The property must also be vacant when purchased (unless under a lease).
- If the property is under a lease the lease must expire within 12 months of the acquisition date and any tenants must vacate the property.
Eligible participants and their intended property need to meet all of the above criteria for the Homebuyer Fund, followed by passing all subsequent assessments by the State and participating lender approval.
- Apply as an organisation, company, trust or other body or entity, or as an acting trustee of a trust.
- Purchase your property from a vendor who is related to you.
- Own interest in any land at the time of purchase, including through a trust as a trustee or beneficiary.
- Be a shareholder in any corporation (other than a public company) that owns any land.
What’s the catch?
If approved for the Homebuyer Fund, there are a range of long-term obligations you are required to fulfil. Some of them are quite limiting, and we highly recommend you discuss all of these obligations with a qualified accountant or financial advisor.
You will be required to complete an annual review every year and provide supporting information to ensure you have maintained your eligibility for the Homebuyer Fund, such as insurance certificates of currency, payslips, tax returns, home loan statements and utility bills.
The property must be insured at all times.
You are also required to notify the State Revenue Office within 10 business days if your circumstances change at any point in time.
Part of the requirements of the Homebuyer Fund is to properly maintain your property by keeping things in good working order and fix any defects.
Successful applicants must seek approval before making any modifications or renovations to the property of more than $10,000, or any that involve structural changes or require council approval.
You also must seek approval to refinance your property, sell your property, or make voluntary payments that result in you exiting the Homebuyer Fund within the first two years of settlement.
You must make all third party payments on time, including council rates, utilities, body corporate fees, stamp duty and home loan repayments.
You will be required to start repaying the Homebuyer Fund’s interest in your property when:
- Your gross annual income exceeds the applicable threshold on two consecutive annual review reporting dates, or
- You receive a windfall gain such as an inheritance or lotto win of $10,000 or more, or
- You have made a mandatory payment and your gross annual income at the next reporting date has increased by 10% or more, and
- You are approved by your lender to increase your home loan.
- The loan increase will only proceed if it enables you to make a payment to reduce the Homebuyer Fund’s share by at least 5 percentage points i.e. from 25% to 20% and is at least $10,000.
You can make voluntary additional repayments to the Homebuyer Fund’s share if each repayment reduces the Homebuyer Fund’s share in your property by at least 5 percentage points and the payment is at least $10,000.
You need to seek and gain approval from the Homebuyer Fund team to pay the full amount back in the first two years, or reduce the State’s equity below 5 percentage points i.e. from 25% to 4% in the first two years.
How to apply for the Homebuyer Fund
You should also speak to a qualified accountant or financial advisor to get their professional advice on whether this program is beneficial for you and your individual circumstances. Please feel free to get in touch with Aintree Group if you would like to discuss the pros and cons with an expert.
If you decide to proceed and apply for this scheme, you will need to gather all the required documentation to apply for a home loan, including payslips, bank statements and tax returns, and speak to a participating lender.
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