First home owners grant threshold increase | POLL

MEMBER for Bega Andrew Constance advised first-time buyers looking for a new home will have more choice when deciding on their purchase, with changes to the First Home Owners Grant coming into effect on July 2.

“House hunters are now able to buy newly constructed homes valued up to $750,000, and remain eligible for the First Home Owners Grant,” Mr Constance said.

“The previous grant cut-off was $650,000, but the threshold’s being boosted by $100,000.

“It means first-time buyers will have more options, and more choice, when they take the property plunge.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for first home buyers to get into the market, while we boost incentives for the construction of new housing stock.”

As part of the NSW Government’s 2014-15 Budget, there are large investments in local building projects that will unlock land for new housing supply. 

“While giving first-time buyers more flexibility, we’re also increasing housing supply,” Mr Constance said.

The latest figures show the number of grants has increased significantly over the past financial year. 

First Home Owner Grants for new homes are 46 per cent higher in the five months to May 2014, compared to the same period the year before.

New data from the Housing Industry Association also shows the outlook for the home building sector is positive, with new house sales up 15.6 per cent in the three months to May 2014 compared with the three months to May last year.

Grant not helping regional home buyers

MOST first home buyers in the Bega Valley can’t make use of the First Home Owners Grant (New Homes) scheme. 

“I don’t think that it has helped first home buyers in regional areas, perhaps it has in cities,” LJ Hooker Bega real estate salesperson Leanne Carter said. 

“Those first home buyers looking for properties for around 250 [thousand dollars] are not eligible for the First Home Owners Grant.”

She said in the Bega Valley, the average first home owner buys property worth $200,000 - however, that is not the type of house applicable for the first home owners grant as it is not a new property.

Ms Carter said on average a brand new house in the Bega Valley area costs around $400,000. 

The First Home Owners Grant allows first home buyers to receive $15,000 towards a house that doesn’t exceed $750,000.

This house must be a previously unoccupied home, one that has not been previously sold as a residence, a home that has been substantially renovated or built to replace a demolished home.

“It would probably be nice to see the grant change to not have those restrictions,” Ms Carter said.

She said some first home owners in the Bega Valley have been able to access the grant by buying a vacant block and building a small home.

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