NSW Budget earns ire of agents

NSW Budget earns ire of agents

Posted on Tuesday, June 18 2013 at 4:35 PM

The New South Wales Government has resisted lobbying from the real estate sector to reintroduce the First Home Owner Grant for established dwellings in today’s 2013 Budget.

The fiscal outlook for the next year did
include funds to extend a scheme that offers cash incentives to first
homebuyers of newly built or off-the-plan dwellings valued up to $650,000.

It was due to be reduced to $10,000 on
January 1, 2014 but will now remain at $15,000 for a further two years.

That wasn’t enough to please the Real
Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW), whose chief executive officer Tim
McKibbin issued a statement expressing his disappointment at a ‘missed

“The Budget was an opportunity for the
government to reinvigorate the property market with a reduction in stamp duty
rates and the reinstatement of first homebuyer incentives on existing
properties,” McKibbin says. “They have failed.”

The grant for new builds, introduced last
year to replace the old scheme, is of little interest to first homebuyers, he

“Instead of purchasing new properties,
(they) are choosing to purchase no property at all.”

Official statistics show first homebuyers
accounted for just 14.3 per cent of total housing finance commitments in NSW in
April – close to the lowest ever figure on record.

The Budget was a winner in some circles,
with Urban Taskforce praising the Budget for its focus on infrastructure and

Key features of a wide-ranging package of
spending include $2.6 billion for new roads infrastructure and $1.5 billion for
the maintenance of existing roads. There’s also funding for a range of
transport projects.

Urban Taskforce also welcomed additional
spending to fast-track housing supply across the state, including $302 million
for critical infrastructure to support new dwelling development.

In fact, the government estimates its focus
on housing-related infrastructure will pave the way for some 42,900 new homes
in Sydney and the Hunter region.

Plus, $99 million in funding will “plug the
gap” between what councils charge developers in infrastructure fees and what
works actually cost, which Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard
says will aide supply.

“This funding ensures the supply of new
housing isn’t blocked by exorbitant developer contribution charges, while still
making sure the necessary infrastructure gets built,” he says.

A further allocation of funds to implement
a new planning system in the next year is also expected to be welcome news for

A White Paper outlining the new system, which
represents an overhaul and streamlining of current processes, is out for public
consultation until the end of the month.

The government promises the reforms will
also improve community involvement in the assessment of development

While the state’s balance sheet remains in
deficit, today’s Budget outlines a forecast return to surplus in 2014-15 and
celebrates a $9 billion write-down in projected debt.

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