The first-home-buyer boost to the housing sector has been officially confirmed, with data revealing nearly 30,000 people applied for the first home buyer grant since the Federal Government introduced the scheme mid-October.
But while the boost in first home buyers has helped save jobs in the building sector, the Government has not confirmed whether it will extend the handouts past the 30 June deadline.
The Federal Government increased its first home buyer grant from $7000 to $14,000 to buyers of existing homes and $21,000 to buyers of new homes. State governments have also added increased payments.
Until 31 January, 29,489 people had applied for the payments. NSW recorded the largest group with 10,438, followed by 6432 in Queensland, 5877 in Victoria, 2800 in Western Australia and 2379 in South Australia.
“I think it is fair to say now that the first home owner boost is having an effect, especially as it has been combined with low interest rates,” Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek told Parliament yesterday.
But Plibersek has refused to guarantee extending the scheme beyond its 30 June deadline, despite pleas from the property and construction sectors.
“The Government has a plan to support jobs in the housing and construction sector,” she said yesterday.
“The first home owners’ boost as well as the construction of 20,000 new community and public housing dwellings will keep tradies in work, keep contractors busy and keep apprentices employed.”
Housing Industry of Australia chief executive Chris Lamont says more long-term measures are required to support the sector.
“Certainly if it weren’t for the grant there would be a lot more business in the industry out of work, but we need to see the first home owners’ grant in the context of construction as a very small part.
“The grant has done good, but longer term we need those housing policies such as the affordability fund, renting affordability scheme and the fiscal stimulus for commercial housing to kick in as soon as possible to offset the drop in activity that we’re seeing in trading purchases.”
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