GRANT DEAD­LINE LOOMS

The Courier-Mail - Home - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY

With the First Home Own­ers Grant to re­duce by $5000 in six weeks, de­vel­op­ers are re­port­ing a surge in buy­ers try­ing to lock-in new home con­struc­tion con­tracts.

A num­ber of pro­mo­tions have been launched to en­cour­age first home buy­ers into the mar­ket be­fore the grant drops from $20,000 to $15,000 on De­cem­ber 31.

Ur­bane Homes is giv­ing buy­ers the chance to build their dream home with just a $5000 de­posit, while home hunters can get on the prop­erty lad­der for as lit­tle as $2000 with Met­ri­con Homes.

Ur­bane Homes sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Jon Rivera said the com­pany dealt with a lot of first home buy­ers who could eas­ily af­ford weekly mort­gage re­pay­ments but were strug­gling to save a de­posit due to high rents and liv­ing costs.

Sin­gle mother and pri­mary school teacher Melissa El­lis bought in to the now sold out Sanc­tu­ary Es­tate at Red­bank Plains, and built with Ur­bane Homes. “I had been rent­ing for the last few years and I was sick of pay­ing off some­one else’s mort­gage,” she said.

“When I took the first step I was wor­ried that build­ing a new home might be too dif­fi­cult for me but they even helped me when I was work­ing through my fi­nances.”

Met­ri­con Homes Queens­land gen­eral man­ager Peter Ryan said their HomeSo­lu­tion ini­tia­tive, launched in Queens­land on Novem­ber 9, had al­ready proved a suc­cess in Vic­to­ria. “The chal­lenge for many Queens­lan­ders is jug­gling rent, fam­ily, study and other com­mit­ments, as well as sav­ing for a de­posit,” he said. “Even if there are some funds left over, it could lit­er­ally take years to raise enough money to meet the mort­gage re­quire­ments when go­ing di­rect to a bank. In Vic­to­ria alone, HomeSo­lu­tion has helped around 800 peo­ple un­lock home own­er­ship in the last four years.”

Clin­ton Trezise of Col­liers In­ter­na­tional has also no­ticed a spike in buyer ac­tiv­ity.

“We have had over 80 first home buy­ers pur­chase at Peregian Breeze since the launch of the es­tate, pre­dom­i­nantly com­ing from the Sun­shine Coast area,” he said.

“This buyer group makes up ap­prox­i­mately 25 per cent of the over­all sales to date ... as we ap­proach the dead­line for the re­duc­tion of the grant, we are see­ing a lot of ac­tiv­ity from first home buy­ers.”

The num­ber of first home buy­ers in­quir­ing at Robina Group’s Vue Ter­race Homes has also in­creased, with the com­pany re­port­ing a 73 per cent rise com­pared to last year.

QM Prop­er­ties gen­eral sales man­ager Damien Ross said house and land pack­ages within their mas­ter­planned com­mu­ni­ties were also prov­ing pop­u­lar with first home buy­ers, par­tic­u­larly from in­ter­state.

“The abil­ity to pur­chase a house and land pack­age un­der $400,000 is un­heard of down south but some­thing that is achiev­able in Queens­land, so the move north is also a good op­por­tu­nity to move from renter to home­owner for the first time,” he said.

Mr Ross said they ex­pe­ri­enced a surge in de­mand prior to the orig­i­nal dead­line of June 30, but changes to lend­ing cri­te­ria had stymied ac­tiv­ity fol­low­ing the grant ex­ten­sion. “We have started to see mo­men­tum build again re­cently but not in the kind of vol­ume as be­fore June 30,” he said. “I would say we are all watch­ing the state elec­tion to see whether or not there might be any fur­ther ex­ten­sion of the grant.”

“We would like to see an ex­ten­sion (as) it would give first home buy­ers more cer­tainty and more time to buy their fu­ture first home (and) would help Queens­land re­main com­pet­i­tive with the other states.”

Tak­ing the first step in own­ing her first home is Melissa El­lis at Sanc­tu­ary Es­tate, Red­bank Plains.

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