The WA government should leave the first-home owners' grant as it is: David Airey

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has urged the state government not to consider ending the universal application of the first-home owners' grant in its upcoming midyear budget review.

Currently, the state distributes the $7,000 grant to first-home buyers irrespective of whether they are purchasing an established property or building a new one.

Some premiers in the eastern states have changed the rules for eligibility and will now only provide funds to first-home buyers who build a home or purchase a newly built one.

The New South Wales and Queensland governments recently scrapped the first-home buyers' grant for people who buy a previously lived-in property as a means to stimulate their flagging construction industry.

However, that stimulus is not needed in WA, especially when 75% of first-home buyers in this state purchase a second-hand home, not a new one.

WA is presently experiencing the strongest non-stimulatory growth in first home buyer activity in both the established and new housing sectors since FHOG was introduced in July 2000.

Now is not the time to distort the healthy recovery in the WA housing market.

First home buyer activity  is currently very strong in WA, constituting up to 30 per cent of all turnover around the state.

We are also starting to see a healthy recovery in new building activity, which has partly been led by first-home buyers now representing 25% of this new activity.

Meddling with the application of the first-home owners' grant now would greatly distort this healthy sector of the market and disadvantage three-quarters of people trying to own their first homes.

The Commonwealth introduced this grant with the purpose of it having universal application to all first-home buyers. This universality must continue in WA to keep this section of the market stable and to ensure fairness for all new buyers.

REIWA is also encouraging the state government to maintain its transfer duty exemption for first home buyers in the forthcoming midyear budget review.

David Airey is president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia. This article was originally published on 

David Airey

David Airey

David Airey is president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

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