NT Budget cash splash for housing

NT Budget cash splash for housing

Posted on Tuesday, May 14 2013 at 1:58 PM

The Northern Territory Government has detailed a raft of cost-saving measures in today’s Budget, in a bid to return the balance sheet to the black.

Despite the more prudish approach to
spending, the government has maintained funding for a range of housing
initiatives, including generous grants for first homebuyers.

Treasurer David Tollner outlined a series
of belt-tightening moves to “target the territory’s overall fiscal imbalance”,
which for 2013-14 sits at $1.18 billion in deficit.

“While the 2013 Budget continues to rein in
government spending and reduce this staggering level of debt, it also puts
Territorians first by maximising our great lifestyle,” Tollner says.

One area where the government won’t be
skimping is in housing, with the commitment of ongoing funds to support first
homebuyers, particularly in more affordable segments of the market and
strategic growth locations.

Grants of $25,000 will be on offer for
first homebuyers of newly constructed homes or land to build a home throughout
the NT, Tollner says.

Ignoring the tact of states elsewhere which
have eliminated grants for established properties, the government will also
provide a $25,000 grant for first-time buyers of existing homes.

However that particular amount will only be
on offer in regional and remote areas outside the capital, where new housing
stock is much lower.

In those metropolitan locations, specified
as being Darwin, Palmerston and Darwin fringe, first homebuyers who purchase an
existing home will be eligible to receive a $12,000 grant.

There’s also a $7000 principal place of
residence rebate for all other buyers of new homes or land across the territory,
he says.

“Budget 2013 also provides home loan
products and services to increase the supply of new, affordable housing and
provides more home ownership opportunities for Territorians who would otherwise
be unable to purchase their own home.”

The HomeBuild Access package includes:

  • Low deposit government loans of
    up to 17.5 per cent of the purchase price, allowing buyers to lower the amount
    of funds required.
  • Loans to help fund the deposit
    required when entering into an off-the-plan purchase contract.
  • A subsidised interest rate loan
    to slash the amount of interest payable for the first five years of a mortgage
    for eligible homebuyers.

In a bid to ease housing pressures faced
across the territory, the government will also invest significant funds in new
remote housing, new public housing in urban areas and specialist homelessness

On the affordability front, funds have been
allocated to improve and fast track the roll out of land for 2000 new
affordable dwellings over the next four years.

When it comes to the economy, the
government is projecting growth in 2013-14 in the order of five per cent,
increasing to and peaking at seven per cent in the next year.

“Growth over this period is expected to be
underpinned by an acceleration of construction activity related to a number of
mining-related projects.”

The government will focus on growing its
“three hub economy”, which includes the mineral resources sector, primary
industries and tourism, Tollner says. It hopes to do this by encouraging
greater investment and cutting red tape.

Infrastructure spending in the next year
will total $1.2 billion, including $802 million for capital projects. 

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