By A. Poulos


Purchasing an apartment off-the-plan entails signing a contract to buy an apartment that is yet to be Built. You can view the design and building plans but there is no physical property to see or inspect.

An off the plan purchase means you can secure ownership of a property, without having to settle for an extended period. It may be one or two years before settlement, so capital growth can often make your initial deposit more valuable in the meantime.

Choose wisely, buying off the plan apartments may be risky.  Ensure that you do sufficient research on the suburb and area that you are purchasing as there is a possibility of paying too much.  There is also the danger of purchasing a poorly constructed property although you will have Builders Warranty for the first 10 years or so.  It is important to ensure that you do your homework about the Developer and consider past projects to see if they are reputable.

On the other hand, there is also risk when purchasing an established house or unit.  There may be unforeseen repair and maintenance costs.



There are considerable factors in relation to cost savings that purchasing off the plan can offer.   Generally, you will need to pay a deposit of 10% on exchange and the rest of the funds on settlement meaning that you may have a year or two to save additional funds reducing the amount of funds you need to borrow.  You may be eligible for Stamp Duty exemptions or discounts as outlined below.

First Home Buyers Assistance scheme provides eligible purchasers with exemptions on transfer duty on new and existing homes valued up to $650,000 and concessions on duty for new and existing homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000.

Eligible purchasers buying a vacant block of residential land to build their home on will pay no duty on vacant land valued up to $350,000, and will receive concessions on duty for vacant land valued between $350,000 and $450,000.

To qualify for First Home Buyers Assistance, you must meet the criteria listed below:

  • The contract and the transfer must be for the purchase of the whole of the property.
  • All purchasers must be ‘eligible purchasers’.
  • An ‘eligible purchaser’ is a natural person (i.e. not a company or trust) at least 18 years of age who has not, and whose spouse/de facto has not:
    • at any time, owned (either solely or with someone else) residential property in Australia other than property owned solely as trustee or executor
    • previously received an exemption or concession under First Home—New Home.
  • At least 1 eligible purchaser must occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of 6 months, commencing within 12 months of completion of the agreement. (Where an eligible purchaser was a member of the permanent forces of the Australian Defence Force and all purchasers were enrolled on the NSW electoral roll, as at the transaction date, then all purchasers are exempt from the residence requirement).

Please go to: for further information.

With interest rates at an all-time low, it may be a great time for First Home Buyers to get in the market.  The Reserve Bank has kept the official cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent for a 14th-straight month.”




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