The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is urging agents to do their part in raising awareness of the government’s expanded Home Guarantee Scheme.
REIA president Hayden Groves said that first-time buyers should act quickly to secure their place in the scheme, which just opened 40,000 new places on 1 July. Meanwhile, agents, he said, should “ensure potential first home buyers and tenants looking to get into home ownership are aware of the scheme in particular”.
Under a smaller iteration of the program, spots have historically been taken up quickly, with 80 per cent of places filled within just three months after last July’s release of 10,000 allotments.
Mr Groves noted it was a particularly good moment to see government support expanded, both for the industry and in terms of current market conditions.
“We have already seen home buyer activity ease off due to renewed investor interest in the market and rising interest rates, but it is great to see this support come online as post pandemic economic conditions set in,” Mr Groves said.
He also commented that the scheme should help to stoke activity in a buyer class whose participation has been somewhat fragile in the past few months.
“The number of loans to first home buyers was down a whopping 32.8 per cent on what was recorded a year ago however new loan commitments to this market increased 4.2 per cent in March after two months of decreases.
“Hopefully these conditions allow the marketplace to stabilise and offer new opportunity for first time buyers to secure their own slice of the great Australian dream,” he said.
In promoting the expansion, federal Minister for Housing Julie Collins highlighted that this was one of the first announcements in a series of forthcoming moves by the Labor party to make good on its pre-election housing promises.
She noted that the government needed to ensure its shared-equity scheme, the Help to Buy program, got up and running soon to assist buyers who may have owned a home in the past.
In an interview with Triple M Breakfast Hobart on the morning of Friday, 1 July, Mr Collins confirmed that details of that scheme were being presently worked through and that she planned to assemble the state ministers for housing for a meeting “in coming weeks”.
“No single government can solve this on their own,” Ms Collins stressed.
“We need all three tiers of government, we need the private sector and the community housing sector all going in the same direction, which is why we want to develop the National Housing and Homelessness Plan,” she said.
Ms Collins noted that the process of creating that plan would involve major stakeholders coming together, “where we get everybody to agree on the things that we can agree on, and go in that direction, and some of the things we don’t agree on we can work a bit harder on and try to see if there’s any leeway … because the only way to solve this is everyone working together and that’s certainly what we want to do”.
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Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.