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NSW Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper


On 23 January 2023, the NSW Government introduced the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper Scheme (Shared Equity Scheme). The purpose of the Shared Equity Scheme is to assist 6,000 eligible home buyers between 2022 and 2024 to enter the NSW property market. The ability to own real property within NSW continues to be a growing concern for many. In response and through the introduction of the Shared Equity Scheme, the NSW Government intends to assist targeted groups in society who ordinarily would not be able to meet mortgage requirements. Successful applicants of the Shared Equity Scheme must satisfy several eligibility criteria.


We discuss each of these in more detail below.


How does the Shared Equity Scheme Work?


Eligible home buyers are required to pay forward a minimum deposit of 2% of the purchase price as well as be able to cover their stamp duty, legal fees and pest and building expenses.


The NSW Government will then fund up to 40% of the purchase price for new homes and 30% for existing homes. In doing so, they will receive an equivalent interest in the property to what they have contributed. On the sale of the property, the Government will be repaid the amount contributed by them, secured by a second ranking mortgage. The Government will also proportionally share in on the gains and losses of the property. There are no repayments, rent or interest charged on the Government’s contributed amount.


The balance of the purchase price will be funded by a participating lender and secured by a first ranking mortgage against the property. The participating lender also agrees to waive lender’s mortgage insurance. At the date of this article, there is one participating lender, being Bendigo Bank.


The Government’s contribution enables the eligible home buyer to secure the property with a smaller deposit and hold the property with lower monthly repayments.


Who is eligible for the Shared Equity Scheme?


Participant Eligibility


The Shared Equity Scheme is open to:


a) single parents of a dependent child or children;

b) single people 50 years of age or above, or

c) key workers including nurses, midwives, paramedics, teachers, early childhood educators or police officers.


In addition, home buyers must be at least 18 years of age, be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent Australian resident.


Property Eligibility


The maximum purchase price is determined by the property’s location:

a) $950,000 - Sydney and major regional centres (Newcastle & Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Central Coast and North Coast of NSW), or

b) $600,000 - other regional areas of NSW.


Furthermore, the property must be used as the eligible participant’s principal place of residence, as opposed to an investment property.


Financial eligibility


Home buyers must have the capacity to fund a minimum of 2% of the property price, service their mortgage with the participating lender, but not have been able to service the mortgage without assistance from the Shared Equity Scheme.

Home buyers will be ineligible if they currently own any other land or property, or if they have a gross income exceeding $90,000 (for singles) and $120,000 (for couples).


Finally, the home buyer’s assets must not exceed:

  • 30% of the purchase price of the property, for joint applicants with a combined gross annual income of more than $90,000.

  • 45% of the purchase price of the property, for applicants with a combined annual income up to $90,000.

  • 65% of the purchase price of the property, for single applicants who are 50 years of age or older.

Eligibility is determined by Revenue NSW and can be further assessed through the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper Assessment Tool.


Changes to eligibility and repayment obligations


As long as home buyers continue to meet each eligibility criteria, no rent or interest will be charged on the Government’s contribution. However, if a change in circumstance renders the home buyer ineligible under the scheme, they will be required to make repayments towards full ownership of the property. Eligibility will be assessed annually to determine whether repayment obligations apply. With this in mind, it is important to consider whether the advantages of the Shared Equity Scheme and its initial appeal outweigh the demands of recurring eligibility assessments, potential repayment obligations, interest payable to participating lenders and the capability to refinance if required.


Australia’s crisis of unaffordable housing is forcing the Government to come up with a range of differing incentives to promote and support first home buyers to get their foot into the property market. The Shared Equity Scheme is another example of this.


For assistance with understanding the Shared Equity Scheme and its impact, please contact our people.


Ron Zucker 0410 590 111

Chelsea Woodward 0404 065 899

Eollyn Cortes 0478 727 395


Disclaimer

The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article will be accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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