REIQ says Queensland government needs to expand FHB grant to established homes

REIQ says Queensland government needs to expand FHB grant to established homes
REIQ says Queensland government needs to expand FHB grant to established homes

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland said it was disappointed by the State Treasurer’s announcement that the government would not broaden the first home buyer grant to include established homes. 

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt was under pressure from the real estate industry to widen the scope of the $20,000 first home owner grant to established homes, but has ruled out any changes, the Courier Mail reported earlier.

In response, REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the government was not listening to the needs of regional Queenslanders. 

“Our concern is for the long-term impact and the bigger picture in regional Queensland, where new construction is exacerbating the oversupply issues that these markets are facing,” she said. 

“House values are falling, with some markets as much as 30 per cent below levels five years ago. Continuously adding supply of housing to oversupplied markets is irresponsible and will slow down any future recovery.

“The Treasurer wants us to believe the only way to economic stability is through residential housing construction, but that’s simply not true.

She said real estate is one of the state’s largest employers, with some 50,000 people employed in the sector, which provides the government with the single largest source of revenue through stamp duty and associated taxes. 

“Regional Queensland is facing unique challenges and the government must tailor its response to those challenges. 

She cited a recent CoreLogic report into affordability that said regional Queensland’s housing affordability was nearing similar levels to Melbourne. Wages are flat or are going backwards, the cost of living is higher and it’s harder to save for a deposit. Bankruptcies in regional Queensland are rising, with more than 80 reported last quarter in Mackay alone, she added.

“First home buyers in regional Queensland need more help than their southeast Queensland counterparts – and letting them use the grant to buy an established home would be a good start.  And it would help the real estate sector in regional Queensland stabilise. It would help slow or stop the fall of median values and it would help first home buyers get a foot on the ladder,” she said.  

“The government should offer first-home buyers the choice between new builds or established homes. Bring buyers to the market where there is ample supply – don’t keep adding to the supply. 

“Real estate has long been this state’s golden goose, but this government is in danger of killing off the goose. 

“Twenty-five regional mayors have given us their full-throated support for broadening the grant to established homes and this state government simply isn’t listening.” 

But Treasurer Pitt has been quoted by the media as saying “the strategic purpose of our $20,000 initiative is as much about getting Queenslanders into the property market as it is getting Queensland tradies back on the tools”. 

He said the building and construction sector creates jobs, stimulates the wider economy and keeps locals employed in the construction sector. 

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Queensland First Home Buyer

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