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REIQ urges Queensland’s state treasurer to expand first-home grants to include established homes

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is lobbying hard to have the state’s first home owners’ grant extended to include built homes in regional areas where growth has been slow since the mining downturn.

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella in a strongly worded letter to Queensland State Treasurer Chris Pitt believes that the expansion of the grant to include established homes will help regional markets recover almost immediately from the recent economic downturn.

“The economy in regional and central Queensland has drastically slowed due to the mining downturn and the property market, which is directly tied to jobs, has also slumped,” Mercorella said.

“Some areas, such as North Mackay, South Mackay, Bucasia and Black’s Beach, have lost almost 30 percent of the value of their homes over the past five years and they desperately need help arresting this continued decline,” she said.

Mercorella’s letter has also received support from 11 other mayors mainly from Mackay, Townsville, Rockhampton, and Gladstone, as well as 12 leaders from the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils, indicating that such a measure was something that everyone had hoped for.

Mercorella said by extending the grant to include established homes in regional Queensland; it could also improve the success rate on the usability of such aid to first home buyers.

“The grant is struggling to gain traction in regional and central Queensland because buyers do not wish to build as the cost of building can be higher than buying an established home,” Mercorella said.

“From 2012 to April 2016 only 4505 grants were accessed throughout regional Queensland – which is just 1100 grants a year – compared to the 12,944 grants that have assisted first-home buyers in south-east Queensland.”

“It is within Pitt’s power to bring those buyers to the market and help regional Queensland weather this continuing economic downturn,” she said.

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June Ramli

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