Tony Abbott promises first home buyer relief

The federal government has promised to make life easier for young buyers by making life harder for foreign investors.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has revealed that the government will announce details of reforms to foreign investment in residential real estate “in coming weeks”.

“There does need to be better enforcement of the rules for foreign purchases of existing homes so that young people are not priced out of the market,” the prime minister said.

“The government is currently considering the recommendations of the parliamentary committee inquiry led by Kelly O’Dwyer MP regarding foreign investment in residential real estate.”

Mr Abbott said the rules on foreign investment were never legally enforced by the previous Labor government.

It comes after the prime minister announced increased scrutiny of foreign purchases of agricultural land.

“To improve the scrutiny of foreign purchases of agricultural land, the government will reduce the screening threshold from $252 million to $15 million from 1 March 2015,” Mr Abbott said.

“The government will also establish a foreign ownership register of agricultural land to strengthen reporting requirements and provide a clear picture of foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural sector.”

[Related: ‘Xenophobia’ at heart of foreign investment noise]

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