First home super saver

Spaceship Super

Owning your first home in NSW

NSW first home buyer? You could get into the property market sooner with the First Home Super Saver scheme and First Home Guarantee.

The information on this page is correct as of 1 June 2023 and may change. Check out the NSW Government and ATO First Home Super Saver Scheme websites for the latest information.

Your first home in NSW

Three ways to get help saving your deposit.

First home super saver - First home buyer grants

First home buyer grants

The New South Wales First Home Owner (New Homes) Grant offers $10,000 to resident first home buyers home, or buy land with a contract to build a house. New properties must have a purchase price of no more than $600,000, and the combined cost of new builds must be valued at no more than $750,000. Applicants must meet various criteria.

First home super saver - Upfront cost help

Upfront cost help

The national First Home Guarantee can help lower the deposit you need and avoid high Lenders Mortgage Insurance. The NSW First Home Buyer Assistance scheme offers concessions to first home buyers on their stamp duty, and Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper can help first home buyers who work in key industries buy their home with a 2% deposit.

First home super saver - Tax help with saving

Tax help with saving

The Federal Government’s First Home Super Saver (FHSS or FHSSS) scheme helps you save more for your deposit by using your super fund, where your super is generally taxed at 15% (before-tax contributions and investment earnings) well below most income tax rates.

How it could work for you in NSW

Suzi is keen to get off the rental mill and into her own home. She’s found a great, newly completed one-bedroom apartment for $540,000, and she discovers that she can get assistance because it’s her first home.

  1. She applies and is eligible for NSW’s $10,000 First Home Owners Grant, because she hasn’t owned a property before and her apartment is newly built, and valued at less than $600,000.
  2. Suzi also qualifies for the First Home Guarantee so she avoids mortgage lenders insurance, and her lender asks for just a 10% deposit.
  3. Under the NSW First Home Buyers Assistance scheme, she is exempt from stamp duty because her property costs less than $800,000.
  4. Suzi has salary sacrificed for the past 3 years, a total of $40,000 worth of voluntary contributions to her super fund which can be accessed under the FHSS scheme. 
    Her income tax rate is 34.5% (including the Medicare levy) well above the 15% tax on super contributions, so she saves thousands of dollars in tax, which she puts toward her deposit.
  5. Then she withdraws funds from her super (including earnings) under the FHSS. The ATO determines her maximum release amount and associated earnings. (Here’s some more about how that works.)  
  6. Suzi combines her savings and starts planning her housewarming party.

Tip – Sydney house prices and deposits are high so Suzi was wise to start saving early and gain tax concessions by depositing money into her super, which she could later withdraw through FHSS to help fund the deposit.

Join Spaceship Super

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Saving with the FHSS

How does the First Home Super Saver Scheme work?

The different grants and schemes on offer in NSW can help make it easier to purchase your first home, but often the deposit is the challenge.

That’s why the Federal Government created the FHSS scheme. If your super has been topped up by you through salary sacrificing or voluntary contributions, then you may be able to use up to $50,000 of that (and the earnings) to put towards your first home deposit.

If it’ll be a few years before you’re ready to buy, then making additional contributions to your super now means you’ll have more to draw upon when it’s finally time to buy - plus, you may be able to get some tax advantages making saving even easier.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, your FHSS savings will give you an advantage while the other federal and NSW first home programs should help to bring the funding target within reach.

How do I save using the FHSS?

Saving via your super for the FHSS can happen in two ways.

Firstly, through contributions such as salary sacrificing (where you get your employer to direct some of your normal pay straight to your super) or making a contribution yourself then claiming a tax deduction.

Either way, you may only pay 15% tax on that amount rather than your higher, standard tax rate.

You can also make and use any after-tax contributions you make to your super.

Note, there are limits on how much you can contribute to your super each year.

First home super saver - 7 steps - In simple terms, the FHSS works like this

  1. Check you’re eligible for the FHSS – are you 18 years old or over and a first home buyer? There’s no Australian citizenship or residency requirement to apply.
  2. Check that your super fund allows you to withdraw under the FHSS (Spaceship Super does!)
  3. Start out by contributing to your own super in any of the following ways:
    1. Contribute after-tax money to your super and then a claim tax deduction in your tax return.
    2. Salary sacrifice, by asking your employer’s payroll department to send some of your income directly to your super account instead of to you.
    3. Contribute after-tax money to your super account, without claiming a tax deduction.
    • Options a and b count towards your ‘concessional contributions’ annual cap of $27,500 (including your employer contributions) and come with tax savings.
    • Option c counts towards your ‘non-concessional’ annual cap of $110,000.
    • There’s a $15,000 cap on how much you can save via the FHSS each year. 
  4. Think financial years. Your annual limits reset on 1 July every year. 
  5. When it comes time to start looking for a home, you apply for a FHSS Determination and a release from the ATO.
    Make sure you get the determination before you sign a contract, so you know how much you’re able to withdraw as a deposit.
    Much of the information will be pre-filled, but it will be handy to have a record of your contributions on hand just to check.
  6. Buy your property!
    Once you sign a contract, submit an FHSS Release Request.
    The ATO requires this within 14 days of signing the contract, but it’s best to do it straight away.
    The amount you withdraw via FHSS will be paid into your bank account. In most cases it will take between 15 to 25 business days.
  7. Alternatively, you can submit the Release Request before signing a contract.
    If you do this, you have up to 24 months (an initial 12 months and an automatic 12-month extension if you need it) to sign a contract on your first home.
    If more than one person is buying the home, each person can use their own FHSS as long as they meet the criteria.
    Even if one person is not eligible, other eligible buyers can still apply for the FHSS.

See your eligible contributions in the Spaceship app.
See your eligible contributions in the Spaceship app.

See your eligible contributions in the Spaceship app.

Join Spaceship Super

Paying less upfront with the First Home Guarantee

What is the First Home Guarantee?

The First Home Guarantee (called FHBG to avoid confusion with other programs) is an Australian Government program to help eligible first-time home buyers buy a home with a deposit of just 5%. The program also means there is no Lenders Mortgage Insurance to pay.

How does the First Home Guarantee work?

When you apply for your first home loan, lenders will often ask for up to 20% of the purchase price  as a deposit. If you can’t meet that, then you may need to pay expensive Mortgage Lenders Insurance.

However, the Commonwealth Government’s First Home Guarantee (FHBG) aims to help eligible applicants get around that by offering to guarantee some of the mortgage.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Generally, to meet the 2023 eligibility criteria for the First Home Guarantee (formerly called First Home Loan Deposit Scheme or FHLDS) in New South Wales, you must:

  • Be an individual or couple
  • Hold Australian citizenship
  • Be 18 years  old or over
  • Earn no more than $125,000 if you’re an individual or $200,000 if you’re a couple
  • Intend to live in the property
  • Be a first home owner.

Only homes to live in qualify, but these can be:

  • Existing or new houses, townhouses, apartments or units
  • House and land packages
  • Vacant land with a home building contract
  • An off-the-plan apartment or townhouse.

In Sydney, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Illawarra, the property must be valued up to $900,000 and in the rest of NSW the cap is $750,000.

Check out the First Home Guarantee website for full eligibility details.

Join Spaceship Super and start tracking your FHSS contributions in the Spaceship app.