GRANT DEADLINE LOOMS
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.