Angus Raine, CEO of leading real estate group Raine & Horne, is applauding the NSW state government’s decision to ring in the New Year with additional funding for city-based property buyers, workers and small business owners who take the decision to shift to regional NSW.
From 1 January, 2014, the eligibility for the $7,000 Regional Relocation Grant will be expanded to include long-term renters (two continuous years in one or more homes) in metropolitan Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.
At the same time, the state government will launch the “Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive”, which is worth $10,000, and is aimed at encouraging people to relocate for jobs unfilled by regional workforces.
It’s important to note that this grant will be linked to secured employment, rather than home ownership, and is also available to eligible small businesses considering relocating to regional centres.
The grants will be subject to a new minimum relocation distance requirement of 100 kilometres (in a straight line) to ease any potential misuse of the schemes in areas that border metropolitan and regional boundary lines.
Also the grants will be capped by a 2013/14 budget allocation of $10.4 million, and as such Mr Raine is urging property buyers or workers considering a regional move to get their skates on to take advantage of the schemes.
“Given that Sydney median house prices have crashed through the $700,000 ceiling, buying a home in regional towns such as Tamworth (median house price $290,000[i]), Wagga Wagga ($320,000), Port Macquarie ($385,000), and Orange ($331,000) makes enormous sense,” says Mr Raine.
While affordability is a major incentive, the Raine & Horne chief warns that homeowners considering a regional shift must do their research to give themselves the best chance of generating some decent long-term growth.
“Look for regional towns with viable and growing economies and populations – the Australian Bureau of Statistics or the local council are great sources of data about the demographics of a town,” says Mr Raine.
“A regional town with excellent long-term growth prospects should have decent infrastructure in place – public transport, major roads, hospitals and schools.
“The growth towns will essentially have all the lifestyle benefits we associate with city living, such as cafes, restaurants, cinemas and so on,” adds Mr Raine.
Mr Raine believes the decision to expand the $7,000 regional relocation grant to long-term tenants has merit, although the skilled worker incentives is a potential game changer for regional economies and property markets.
“The incentive for skilled workers is a very smart move as it will attract key people to regional towns to help drive those economies – and of course eventually they’ll buy houses – and hopefully create jobs for others to buy and rent properties,” says Mr Raine.