(Australian Associated Press)
The dream of owning a home could be a realistic New Year’s resolution for many West Australians with the state government boosting the first homebuyers grant to $15,000 and making changes to the Keystart loan scheme.
The first homebuyers grant for new homes up to a value of $750,000 will be lifted from $10,000 for just one year starting on January 1.
Premier Colin Barnett said the $45 million stimulus measure was a significant investment that should help 650 people enter the housing market, which would stimulate the industry and create about 2000 jobs.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said the existing transfer duty assistance provided to first homebuyers would also continue.
“Eligible first homebuyers purchasing vacant land on which to build their home will continue to pay no duty on purchases up to $300,000 and pay a reduced amount of duty on land up to $400,000,” he said.
“Those buying an established home or a newly constructed home also pay no duty for homes up to $430,000 and reduced transfer duty on homes up to $530,000.”
The state government has increased income limits for eligilbilty to the Keystart loan scheme by $20,000.
That means a couple who would previously only be eligible for Keystart if their combined income was below $95,000 could now earn $115,000 and still be eligible.
For a single person, the income criteria has been raised from $70,000 to $90,000.
“The attraction of Keystart is it is a low deposit loan so many people who don’t have a deposit that will be required by, say banks, can get a Keystart loan depending on what their income is,” Mr Barnett told reporters.
“I hope the homebuyers respond, I hope that the building industry responds and this can provide a good kick along for that industry and indeed bring confidence in the community.”
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said the state government had previously made bad decisions that affected the industry, including three consecutive increases in land tax and a cut in the first homebuyers grant.
“I’m glad the government has recognised that they’ve had a negative impact on that particular industry, but also recognise that the construction industry is a big employer in Western Australia,” he told reporters.
“We’ll support that (first homebuyers) announcement and don’t have any intention of removing that in the event that we win government in March.”
Mr Wyatt also backed the Keystart changes but disagreed that either announcement would kickstart the housing industry.
“It’s the unwinding of previous cuts made by the government – that’s a good thing – and I hope it has an impact on the housing industry that sees more jobs created,” he said.