The Queensland building and construction industry has welcomed new moves on the part of the government to restrict the state’s first home owner incentive scheme to new homes only and to more than double the amount first-time home buyers will receive under the scheme.
In a statement on Monday, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said that under a new First Home Owner Construction Grant (FHOCG), first-time home buyers will be entitled to receive $15,000 when purchasing either a newly-constructed home or an off-the plan property.
The new scheme will replace the current First Home Owner Grant, which is worth $7,000 and applies to all first-time home buyers, regardless of whether they buy new or existing homes.
Queensland Master Builders executive director Graham Cuthbert has welcomed the moves, saying the latest measures indicate that the government understands the building sector’s overall economic importance.
Doubling the grant and limiting its application to new homes was one of three measures featured on Master Builders’ wish list detailed in its pre-budget report.
“One of the biggest challenges faced by the residential building industry is low consumer confidence and we believe the new look grant will offer first home owners a very real incentive to build a new home and address the rising cost divide between new and established housing,” Cuthbert says.
Cuthbert also commended both the long-term nature of the move and its immediate commencement (it will take effect on September 12), which will eliminate any drop-off in demand for a home while those interested in building wait for the grant to become available.
Queensland executive director of the Property Council of Australia Kathy MacDermott says the FHOCG will provide a ‘welcome shot in the arm’ for property and construction firms facing ‘dreadfully tough market conditions.’
MacDermott says, however, that more is needed to get the industry back onto the path of long-term success, including a holistic tax review and modernisation program focused around stamp-duty and the harmonisation of the landholder duty model.
The new scheme (limited to properties under $750,000) will apply to all contracts signed on or after September 12. Those who purchase new properties prior to that date will receive $7,000 under the old scheme, while new home buyers who were about to purchase existing properties have until October 11 to finalise their contract should they wish to remain eligible for the $7,000 under the old scheme.