While the state Budget may not have included a lot of changes that will impact first home buyers, there was one announcement, which will – a $7.7 million commitment to extend stamp duty concessions for off-the-plan apartments until 30 June 2017.

The concessions, of up to $15,500, have also been made available to all off-the-plan apartments within South Australia, where previously they were limited to the Adelaide CBD and inner suburbs. Combined with the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant available for new homes, first home buyers buying a new apartment can get a massive head start – up to $30,500 worth – on covering their upfront costs.

For example, to buy an off-the-plan apartment for $330,000 using HomeStart’s Graduate Loan:
 
3% deposit $9,900
Fees and charges (incl. stamp duty) $21,191
First Home Owner Grant -$15,000
Transfer concession -$1,628
Stamp Duty concession -$9,380
Total upfront cost $5,083
 
These stamp duty concessions are obviously working in helping stimulate growth in the building sector – Housing Finance figures released last month by the ABS showed that in the first quarter of 2016 (January to March), housing construction in South Australia had risen by more than 5% compared with the same period last year.

 

The number of apartments across Adelaide is set to grow even stronger. Over the past three years, apartment building approvals have more than doubled — from 1695 in 2012 to 3385 last year. And South Australia remains one of the most affordable places to buy and build, with Adelaide’s median price for an apartment being $350K, the second lowest on the country (ABS).

 

When saving for a deposit continues to be one of the biggest barriers to home ownership, it’s understandable that more South Australians are looking to take advantage of the First Home Owner Grant and stamp duty concessions to get into their first home. Even better, when used in conjunction with a HomeStart loan, first home buyers can get into a new aparment with very little – in some cases, as little as $5000 – upfront.

Not to mention that as well as cost savings, there are other reasons that buying off the plan offers an advantage over buying, such as the cost efficiencies of modern homes, and the luxury of living in a home no one else has ever lived in.