Queensland first-home buyer loan approvals have soared by nearly 20 percent in the last 12 months, jumping 5 percent in the last month alone, new data shows.
The Sunshine State boasts the highest number of first-home buyers in Australia, thanks to low-interest rates, a $20,000 state government grant and one of the country’s most affordable housing markets.
The latest data from Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Queensland first-home buyer activity has increased by 16 percent during 2017 – and it’s likely to intensify, with developers ramping up the incentives for first-time buyers as the last few months of the $20,000 First Home Owners’ Grant close in.
The grant, which was scheduled to drop back to $15,000 on June 30, was extended until December 31 by the Queensland government.
Domain Group senior economist Andrew Wilson said the grant had been extremely successful in bringing forward demand stimulating the first-home buyer market.
We had a rush of first-home buyers in June when people thought the grant was going to end but since then the numbers have continued to keep growing,” he said.
While Sydney continues to battle a housing affordability crisis, Queensland first-home buyers have 92 suburbs in Greater Brisbane alone with a median below the average purchasing power ($392,000) to choose from.
In the Brisbane LGA, 17 suburbs still have medians of $500,000 or less, the latest Domain Group data shows, whereas Sydney now has no suburbs with a median of $500,000 or less.
Acacia Ridge, Boondall, Tingalpa, Deagon and Riverhills all have a median house price of $500,000 or less.
With the $20,000 grant scheduled to drop back to $15,000 at the end of the year, developers are now making a renewed push to get first-time buyers to take advantage of the extra cash before it expires.
One of Australia’s biggest residential land developers, Peet Limited, is leading the push, recently releasing 40 new house and land packages under $400,000, with some packages starting as low as $295,000 with the First Home Owners’ Grant.
The packages are available in communities near Ipswich, Caboolture and Logan – some of south-east Queensland’s biggest growth corridors – and include front landscaping and fencing.
Peet Limited CEO and managing director Brendan Gore said the company wanted to show homebuyers that there was still a big choice in quality, affordable homes available.
“People are hearing a lot about escalating property prices and are really worried about being priced out of the market.
“We want to reassure them that it isn’t too late. It is still very possible to buy an attractive family home, close to amenities, in an area with good investment potential, for under the magic $400,000.”
Mr Gore said although the grant had been extended a number of times, home sales tended to peak whenever buyers could see the grant coming to a close.
“The First Home Owners’ Grant is a big help for people who are struggling to get into the property,” he said. “The deadline is definitely on the radar for those buyers who are eligible.”
Peet’s 40 under $400,000 packages will be available until November 3, 2017, or until sold out.
Originally Published: www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au