No love from Federal Budget for property, again
THE property sector has once again missed out on Budget love with little direct relief for home buyers, sellers and investors. The Budget’s housing centrepiece is a $112 million trial program to assist the elderly to downsize their homes without affecting pensions, via a means test exemption of up to $200,000 for 10 years. It is designed to remove the disincentive for seniors to relocate to more age-appropriate housing, however, the program’s requirements that homeowners must have owned their family property for at least 25 years excludes many from receiving the benefit. A $100 million investment in natural disaster mitigation aimed at lowering insurance premiums, and the Government’s ongoing financial commitments to address home- lessness were also part of the Budget wash-up. Treasurer Wayne Swan blamed the fading mining boom coupled with a buoyant Aussie dollar for ditching his promise to deliver a surplus, instead handing down $19.4 billion deficit.