Article by: Hari Yellina
Thousands of first-time home purchasers in the region will be helped by the government, thanks to a scheme proposed by Labor earlier this month. A program that allows first-time home purchasers to buy a home with a 5% or 2% deposit and avoid paying lender mortgage insurance has been expanded to cover 10,000 places every year for regional areas, more than tripling the number of people who can benefit. To be eligible for the regional program, candidates must either build or buy a newly constructed home and earn no more than $125,000 per year for singles and $200,000 for couples. Depending on the state and location within the state, house prices are restricted at between $800,000 and $350,000.
Jim Chalmers, Labor’s shadow treasurer, said the regional housing policy looked “exactly like” what his party had already proposed. Mr Chalmers stated, “It’s a good thing, it’s welcome, that they want to adopt our policy.” The office of Housing Minister Michael Sukkar dismissed the notion that the government had “accepted” Labor’s programme, pointing out that it was merely an enlargement of the Coalition’s Home Guarantee Scheme, which has been in existence since 2020. The Labor Party’s policy will apply to all homes, but the government’s policy will only apply to new construction. With prices rising by an average of 26 percent, regional housing is becoming a significant battleground in the 2018 election, outpacing growth in capital cities (21pc).
Accommodation has been regarded as the most serious infrastructure challenge in regional Australia, according to Infrastructure Australia, with a scarcity of all types of housing, both public and private, exacerbated by the city inhabitants’ rush to the regions during the pandemic. Labor housing spokesman Jason Clare claimed the government had “copied and pasted” Labor’s programme “in the ultimate third-party support.” Mr Clare added, “We’ve seen prices go through the roof and a lot of young people in the areas being outbid, unable to afford to buy their own property in the location where they grew up.”
Mr Clare stated that a lack of land allowed for construction was part of the housing problem, which the government had further compounded by eliminating the Housing Supply Council ten years ago, whose role it was to ensure that there was enough land to build on. Labor has vowed that if elected, it will construct a National Housing Plan that will involve all levels of government. Mr Clare stated, “You need to get the housing and planning ministers around the country together and working together… they don’t even talk to each other about this right now.” Since 2020, the government’s Home Guarantee Scheme has assisted nearly 60,000 first-time home purchasers, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. “It’s why, in tomorrow night’s budget, we’re supporting even more aspiring home owners to get into the market,” Mr Frydenberg said.