First-home buyers denied grant for new ‘display home’

A family of first-home buyers has been denied eligibility to the First Home Owner Grant for the purchase of a newly built ‘display home’.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal recently disallowed a family’s objection to a decision by the Commissioner of State Revenue to refuse them the grant.

QCAT member Bevan Hughes, in a four-page written decision, found Joseph, Margaret, Mei Li and Mei Yen Chee were not entitled to the grant because the display home had previously been sold as place of residence and therefore was not a ‘new home’.

The tribunal was told the Chees bought their home from Ownit Homes, at Springfield west of Brisbane, in December 2014.

“The (Chee family) applied to (QCAT) to review the commissioner’s decision (to deny the grant),” Mr Hughes said.

“They submitted that, because the seller previously bought the property only as vacant land and then built the home as a display home after entering into a contract of sale, it was not ‘previously sold as a place of residence’.”


However, Mr Hughes said the tribunal had held that the test of a ‘sold as a place of residence’ was objective and did not depend on the acts or the intentions of the parties, but the predominant character of the property.

“While the description of the transaction in the contract may be a factor in determining the nature of the transaction, it is not determinative,” Mr Hughes said.

“Registration of the instrument of transfer confers title. The earlier contractual description of the transaction cannot alter the substantive character of the property ultimately transferred from Springfield (Land Corporation) to Ownit – land with a dwelling.”

Mr Hughes said the ‘interpretation’ was consistent with Parliament’s policy intent to restrict eligibility for the grant only to first-home buyers who built a new home and thereby boosted the housing construction section.

“This means that the home was previously sold as a place of residence before the (Chees) bought it,” he said.

“The contract between the (Chees) and Ownit was therefore not for the purchase of the ‘new home’ and was therefore not an ‘eligible transaction’…and they are not entitled to the First Home Owner Grant.”

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