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QLD Treasurer Rejects REIQ Proposal to Broaden the First Home Buyer Scheme

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has publicly recorded its disappointment in the State Government that they would not be broadening their first buyer home grant to established homes.

REIQ chief Antonia Mercorella said this was evidence that the State Government was not listening to the needs of regional Queenslanders.

“However, our concern is for the long-term impact and the bigger picture in regional Queensland, where new construction is exacerbating the oversupply issues that these markets are facing.

“House values are falling, with some markets as much as 30 percent below levels five years ago. Continuously adding the supply of housing to oversupplied markets is irresponsible and will slow down any future recovery.

“The Treasurer (Curtis Pitt) wants us to believe the only way to economic stability is through residential housing construction, but that’s simply not true,” she said.

She said regional Queensland was facing unique challenges and the government must tailor its response to those challenges.

“A recent CoreLogic report into affordability identified that regional Queensland’s housing affordability was nearing similar levels to Melbourne. Wages are flat or are going backwards, the cost of living is higher, and it’s harder to save for a deposit. Bankruptcies in regional Queensland are rising, with more than 80 reported last quarter in Mackay alone.

“First home buyers in regional Queensland need more help than their south-east Queensland counterparts – and letting them use the grant to buy an established home would be a good start. And it would help the real estate sector in regional Queensland stabilise. It would help slow or stop the fall of median values, and it would help first home buyers get a foot on the ladder,” she said.

“The Government should offer first-home buyers the choice between new builds or established homes. Bring buyers to the market where there is ample supply – don’t keep adding to the amount,” she added.

In the first seven months of 2016-17, $46.8 million was granted to 2,340 people – who received $20,000 each – to buy a new house, unit or apartment worth up to $750,000, Fairfax Media reports.

The figures are slightly lower than under the previous grant scheme in 2015-16 – which handed out $15,000 to each buyer – 2,372 people received $35.6 million over 12 months.

The current $20,000 grant is only available to people buying a new property, after the program which involved existing homes was scrapped in 2012.

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June Ramli

June Ramli was a in-house journalist for Elite Agent Magazine.