October 26, 2021 by Hilary Nanopoulos
The Victorian Government has made it possible to receive a contribution of up to 25% of the purchase price of your home.
The Victorian Homebuyer Fund (VHF) is a $500 million initiative by the Victorian Government to help up to 3,000 eligible homebuyers purchase their property sooner.
If eligible for the fund, you could receive a contribution of up to 25% towards the purchase of your property. This would allow you to obtain a home loan with a minimum deposit of 5%, while also avoiding the need to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
The homebuyer fund is a shared equity scheme, therefore the contribution made by the Victorian government is in exchange for a share, or proportional interest in the property.
What are the eligibility requirements?
To be eligible for the Homebuyer fund, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Australian citizen or permanent resident, at least 18 years of age
- Have saved the required minimum deposit (at least 5% or 3.5% depending on your circumstances) of the property price
- Your gross annual income will need to be $125,000 or less per annum for singles, or $200,000 or less for joint applicants.
- Live in the purchased property as your principal residence
- Must not apply under an organisation, company, trust or other body or entity
- The purchased property can not be owned from someone you are related to
- You must not own any land at the time of purchase, including as a trustee of a trust, beneficiary under a trust, or as a shareholder in any corporation (other than a public company) that owns land, and
- You must not be acting as a trustee of a trust
What are the Property and region requirements?
In addition to meeting all the personal eligibility requirements outlined above, you will also need to ensure that the property you want to purchase and location it is in meets the following requirements:
- Property must be in Metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, or another eligible regional location. You can find a full list of the eligible Victorian regions and suburbs here.
- Must be a residential property, including house, townhouse, unit, and apartment, and cannot be vacant land.
- Property must be $950,000 or less in Metropolitan Melbourne and Geelong or $600,000 or less in other eligible regional locations.
- Both existing and new properties are eligible, however certificate of occupancy has to be issued prior to the date of the contract of sale
- The property must be vacant when purchased, or if under a lease, the lease must expire within 12 months of the acquisition date.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Requirements
If you are an Eligible Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander homebuyer you may be able to receive a contribution of up to 35% instead of 25%. You will also be able to provide a minimum required deposit of 3.5% as opposed to 5% without incurring LMI.
What are the ongoing requirements of the Homebuyer Fund?
As the Victorian Government’s contribution will give them a proportional interest in the property, if you’re approved for the Homebuyer Fund it’s important that you consider the ongoing obligations associated.
You will need to complete a yearly review and provide supporting evidence to confirm your have maintained your eligibility for the homebuyer fund. The supporting documents may include a certificate of currency of insurance, payslips, tax returns, home loan statements and utility bills.
If your circumstances change affecting your eligibility for the homebuyer fund, you are required to notify the Victorian State Revenue Office (SRO) within 10 days of the change.
Maintaining the property
You will need to ensure that you maintain your property by keeping things in working order and fixing any defects.
All repayments relating to the property must also be made on time. This includes council rates, utilities, body corporate fees, stamp duty and home loan repayments.
Changes to your property and home loan
It’s important to understand that if you are looking to make significant changes to your property or home loan you will need to obtain approval prior. Examples of circumstances you will need to receive approval for include:
- Refinancing your home loan
- Selling your property
- Making voluntary payments to exit the homebuyer fund within the first two years, and
- Doing any renovations or modifications to the property of more than $10,000
Your house must be insured at all times, this will be monitored in your annual review.
Homebuyer fund Repayments
As the Victorian Homebuyer Fund is a shared equity scheme, you are expected to pay back the contribution made by the Victorian government to gain full ownership of the property.
You are required to start repaying the homebuyer fund’s interest in your property when:
- Your gross income is more than $125,000, or $200,000 for couples, for 2 consecutive annual reviews
- You receive a windfall gain of $10,000 or more. E.g. Lotto win, inheritance
- You have made a mandatory payment and your gross income at the next reporting date has increased by at least 10%
- You are approved by your lender to increase your home loan. Please note if you choose to apply for additional funds in your home loan you will only be approved if you make a payment to reduce the homebuyer fund’s share by at least 5 percentage points and the repayment is at least $10,000.
Additionally, you are allowed to make voluntary repayments to repay the homebuyer fund as long as the repayment is at least $10,000 and reduces the homebuyer fund’s share by at least 5 percentage points.
How to apply for the Homebuyer Fund?
If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in purchasing an eligible property in one of the accepted regions, you can apply for provisional approval directly from one of the participating lenders (currently Bank Australia and Bendigo Bank).
Once you have received provisional approval for the homebuyer fund you will have 6 months to find an eligible property and enter a contract of sale. At this stage you will need to work directly with the participating lender you choose to go through the home loan application process and finalise your involvement with the homebuyer fund.
Speak to us to get support
If you’re looking to buy a home in Victoria and are considering using the homebuyer fund, you can speak with us at Mortgage Choice in Nunawading. We'll provide you with expert advice and assist you with your decision.
Call our team on 03 9813 3522 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org