First home super saver

Spaceship Super

Owning your first home in WA

Get into your own little piece of the West using 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 WA Government and ATO First Home Super Saver Scheme websites for the latest information.

Owning your first home in WA

How you could get extra help with your first home deposit in Western Australia.

First home super saver - First home buyer grants

First home buyer grants

WA’s First Home Owner Grant is a government scheme that provides a $10,000 payment to eligible first-time buyers, to help them build a home or buy one that’s brand new (or has just been substantially renovated). The maximum eligible property value is $750,000 if you live south of the 26th parallel (e.g Perth), or $1 million if you live north of it.

First home super saver - Upfront cost help

Upfront cost help

First home buyers in WA who face a hight mortgage deposit - often around 20% - can apply for the national First Home Guarantee, to help reduce the deposit and avoid costly Lenders Mortgage Insurance. In addition, WA’s First Home Owner Rate of duty provides a lower rate of stamp duty for house and land of value up to $530,000 or $400,000 for vacant land, while the Home Buyer Assistant Account offers a grant of up to $2,000 for incidental expenses on properties up to $400,000.

First home super saver - Tax help with saving

Tax help with saving

The Federal First Home Super Saver scheme (aka FHSS or FHSSS) helps build savings for the deposit as the tax rate is generally 15%, which is well below normal income tax rates.

How it could work for you in WA

Office-worker Joel decides it’s time to move out of his sharehouse and buy a place of his own.

He likes the idea of something new and finds a home and land package just out of Perth that looks great and is on the market for $570,000. It’s over the threshold for First Home Owner Rate of Duty, but he still manages to afford it with these five steps:

  1. Joel qualifies for Western Australia’s First Home Owners Grant, which adds $10,000 to his available budget.
  2. The property is less than $600,000 and therefore is eligible for the First Home Guarantee. His lender then just requires a deposit of 5% i.e. $28,000.
  3. Since he began his new job four years ago, Joel has managed to put $3,000 worth of savings into an investment portfolio, and has voluntarily topped up his super by $20,000 using ‘contribute and claim’. His personal super contributions can be withdrawn under FHSS.
  4. As Joel’s normal income tax rate of 34.5% (including Medicare levy) is well above the 15% tax rate on super contributions, so he saves thousands of dollars in tax which he puts towards his deposit.
  5. When the time comes for him to pay his deposit, he applies to the ATO for an FHSS determination and cashes out the maximum releasable amount with associated earnings. The earnings are calculated by the ATO using the shortfall interest charge rate for each day from the date Joel made the contribution to the date of the determination. Here’s some more about how that works.
  6. Joel puts all his savings together, and lets his flatmates know they’ll need to start looking for a new flatmate.

Tip – The thresholds for first home programs are set quite low in WA so it is wise to plan on the basis that you might not qualify. Saving early can be rewarded with a tax concession if it is done through your super. The funds can be withdrawn when you need them under the First Home Super Saver rules which include thresholds that suit early savers.

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Saving more with the FHSS

How does the First Home Super Saver Scheme work?

The FHSS scheme is designed to help first-time buyers enter the housing market by allowing them to use some of their self-contributed super for a home deposit and achieve their goal of home ownership.

You must also meet certain other requirements, such as living in the home as soon as you can, and for at least six months of the first 12 months you own it.

Only voluntary super contributions can be used, but these are generally taxed lower than normal income so you can potentially save more, sooner.

How do I save using the FHSS?

To take advantage of the FHSS, you must make voluntary contributions to your own super first.

This can be a good way to save, because if you make before-tax contributions or after-tax contributions and claim a tax deduction on them, those funds are generally taxed at just 15% and not the regular, higher tax rate.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, you can then withdraw from those voluntary contributions, plus the earnings they’ve accumulated over time.

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.

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Lowering your deposit with the First Home Guarantee

What is the First Home Guarantee?

The First Home Guarantee (FHBG) is an Australian Government program designed to help eligible purchasers buy their first home with a deposit of 5% (or more), which is far below the 20% usually required by loan providers to avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

How does the First Home Guarantee work?

The First Home Guarantee (FHBG) allows first-time home buyers to purchase a home with a deposit of as little as 5% of the property value, rather than the usual 20% required by most lenders. By guaranteeing part of the mortgage, the scheme can help first-time buyers who don’t have enough saved for a large deposit.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Generally, in WA in 2023, to be eligible for the First Home Guarantee (in the past called First Home Loan Deposit Scheme or FHLDS) you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a first home owner
  • Hold Australian citizenship
  • Earn a maximum of $125,000 per year as an individual, or
  • Earn a maximum of $200,000 per year as a couple
  • Be 18 years old or over
  • Plan to live in the residence.

Only mortgages on residences can be included, but this could be for:

  • Existing houses, terrace homes, units, duplexes, or apartments
  • Vacant land when you have a contract to build a house
  • Off-the-plan apartment, unit, or townhouse.
  • Home and land package

In Perth, the property must be valued at no more than $600,000, and in other parts of WA up to $450,000.

For the full eligibility criteria, visit the FHBG site.

Join Spaceship Super - One super account is all you need to save using FHSS