OVER $35 million has gone into helping first home buyers in Brisbane get a foot in the property market in the last two and half years, according to latest Queensland Government figures.
The numbers have seen North Lakes emerge as the Brisbane suburb with the highest number of first home buyers that have used the Great Start Grant since the current round began in September 2012.
Statistics for that period, released by the Queensland Treasury Office of State Revenue, found over $11.175 million had gone towards 745 first homeowners in Brisbane South and $8.145 million to 543 people in Brisbane North.
The Inner City had 470 new first homeowners share $7.05 million in Great Start Grant funds, Brisbane East had 426 share $6.39 million while Brisbane West saw $2.85 million go to 190 people.
The figures were released as the Great Start Grant neared its two-and-a-half-year milestone, with the Gold Coast seeing 902 first home buyers share in $13.53 million, Ipswich had 967 people split $14.505 million while Logan Beaudesert saw 867 people share $13.005 million.
Brisbane’s top grant suburb was North Lakes where 259 new homeowners accessed the special funding to get their first home, while Upper Coomera topped the Gold Coast with 210 people.
Vedi Novakovic was among those who have taken their first step into the property market in North Lakes using the Great Start Grant.
Her parents had moved to North Lakes from the southside four years ago, so when the time came to choose a new home, Ms Novakovic said the decision was easy.
“I looked at two or three other places (before this one). It wasn’t too long before we just went down the road to talk to the guys at the display houses in North Lakes. It was a pretty easy decision in the end.”
Ms Novakovic, 27, decided on package via developer Stockland and project builder Stylemaster because “the price and the concept looked good”.
“I’ve spent roughly around $350,000,” she said, and found the Great Start Grant “definitely helpful” – coming as it did at the end of construction.
“After the building finishes they give you back that $15,000. That’s helped a lot with landscaping and furniture.”
She has been in her new home for over a month, just five minutes away from her parents.
”It’s a work in progress. It’s scary but exciting at the same time. It’s wonderful. It feels like it’s always been mine.”
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance figures showed there was much more to come from the first homebuyer segment, with lending activity still “quite weak” according to Housing Industry Association economist Geordan Murray.
“The number of loans to first home buyers in the three months to February 2015 was around 8.2 per cent lower than the corresponding period a year earlier,” she said.
Property group Stockland regional manager David Laner has seen growth in both North Lakes and Upper Coomera where the company has residential communities.
First home buyers made up 34 per cent of all new house and land packages sold by Stockland in Queensland, he said – “the highest representation of any single buyer group”.
Stockland saw first homebuyers return to the market “in meaningful numbers” in the first half of the 2014-2015 financial year,.
“It’s important that we continue to encourage first homebuyer confidence and participation in the market. The Great Start Grant has been very successful in this regard and new and potential first homebuyers are undoubtedly looking to the government for reassurance that the grant will be maintained at current levels.”
He said many of Stockland’s recent first home buyers had settled in the urban Mode Village, which was now close to selling out.
Stockland also had a Highland Reserve development community in Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast, which Mr Laner said was also very popular.
“Young homebuyers like the central location and the fact that Highland Reserve has its own state primary school, childcare centre, cafe and central lake, and is handy to major employment centres,” he said.