Stephanie Borys 28/03/2022
More first home buyers could find it easier to get into the property market, with the government expanding its home guarantee schemes.
The programs, which allow first home buyers to purchase a property with either a 5 or 2 per cent deposit, was set to end in June.
However, with property prices rising and concerns the Australian dream of home ownership is now out of reach for many, the government will again extend the schemes and establish an additional one for people in regional areas.
Housing affordability is an issue many Liberal MPs have been keen to address in the lead up to the federal election as backbencher Jason Falinksi flagged earlier this month, when releasing a federal parliament report on housing.
“We have seen in poll after poll this week, that people are telling us one thing and one thing clearly,” he said.
“Of all the issues that are on the table for this election, housing affordability is the biggest one in most parts of Australia.”
The details will be outlined in Tuesday’s budget and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he was confident the programs would help more people who had struggled to get into the market.
“Since January 2020, the government’s Home Guarantee Scheme has helped almost 60,000 home buyers purchase their first home,” he said.
“It’s why, in tomorrow night’s budget, we’re supporting even more aspiring home owners to get into the market.”
The schemes can only be used on homes under a certain price guide outlined by the government and a person is eligible if they earn no more than $125,000 a year and $200,000 for couples.
50,000 places a year
The expanded program includes 35,000 places per year under the First Home Guarantee, which was previously known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
It allows people to put down a 5 per cent deposit without being slugged lenders mortgage insurance because the government guarantees the loan.
Five thousand places per year will be offered under the Family Home Guarantee, which allows single parents to put down a deposit of 2 per cent.
There will also be a new scheme established called the Regional Home Guarantee (RHG) that aims to encourage more construction outside of capital cities.
It will be available to first home buyers, people who have not owned a property in the past five years and permanent residents, which the government hopes will encourage migrants to settle in regional areas.
To access the regional scheme, applicants must either build or purchase a newly built home and there will be 10,000 places per year available from October 1.
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the regional scheme outlined by the government today was very similar to Federal Labor’s approach announced earlier this month.
“They copied our policy today for regional first home buyers, that’s a good thing as far as we’re concerned. It [the scheme alone] won’t solve the whole problem,” he told Channel Nine.
More money for roads, rail and transport
Tuesday’s budget will also include nearly $18 billion for transport infrastructure which will be spent on upgrading and building roads and railway lines.
It includes $1 billion to upgrade the train line between Sydney and Newcastle, $3 billion for key freight projects in Victoria and $1.6 billion for the Brisbane to Sunshine Coast rail extension.
There is also more money for commuter car parks, an echo of the 2019 election campaign when millions of dollars were promised for car parks near train stations.
Many of the car parks still haven’t been built, while others have been scrapped and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) found the choice in locations was not based on need and instead focused on Liberal-held or marginal seats.
However, that has not stopped the government from setting aside more than $47 million in this year’s budget, with most of the funding earmarked for Liberal electorates in New South Wales and Victoria.
New projects will get some of the money, but the majority is going to car parks announced three years ago during the last election that are still not finished, such as the commuter car park upgrades in Woy Woy and Panania.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham defended the additional funding for car parks and said it made up 0.3 per cent of the infrastructure spend that has been announced.
“So, it’s a very small element …. the scale of investment in terms of projects across every major city of the country, across every state of the country is about helping people to get to work and to get home faster and safer,” he said.
“Car parks to access public transport services are an important part of that.”