First home buyers struggle to find somewhere to live

Pitch to woo the votes of first home buyers hits a snag, the lack of homes for sale in city and country.

STUMBLING BLOCK: Generous government incentives for first home buyers are coming unstuck through lack of houses to buy in the country.

Property experts are pointing to the flaw in generous first home buyers schemes being rolled out across the country.

The lack of available homes.

And the long delay in building new ones.

Every state government has its own version of these apparently generous schemes and it has become a Federal election issue as well.

The pandemic-driven trend of city moving to the country has already soaked up much of the available inventory of houses for sale, according to agents.

REA Group economist Eleanor Creagh said the pandemic drove a boom in remote working and with more flexibility some have opted for a lifestyle shift to less expensive capital cities or the regions.

"Both southeast Queensland and Adelaide have seen strong interstate demand, driven by a relative affordability advantage over Sydney and Melbourne, larger block sizes and lifestyle perks such as less traffic," she said.

"Buyers are perhaps looking for value after property prices have moved markedly higher since the onset of the pandemic."

A median house price in Brisbane is just over $600,000, compared with Sydney's median of more than $1.2 million.

House price rises, in the city and country, have pushed many houses beyond the reach of first-time buyers.

With material and labour shortages, many builders are quoting a year's delay before new homes can be built.

The latest federal pitch from the Coalition is to raise the price caps for houses under its Home Guarantee Scheme.

Buyers with just five per cent of the home's price can apply to the scheme, in which the government guarantees up to 15 per cent of the loan.

Today's political push is all about the new borrower avoiding the cost of obtaining lenders' mortgage insurance which is triggered if they cannot afford 20 per cent of the loan amount.

MORE READING: Canada bans foreigners from buying their homes for two years.

A similar scheme was first promised by the Labor Party.

The "price caps" of new homes have been raised to $800,000 for Melbourne and regional Victoria and $900,000 in Sydney and regional NSW.

Victoria has one of the more controversial schemes.

Its Homebuyer Fund has already seen 850 Victorians signing up for $140 million already spent in "shared equity funding" in just six months.

The fund reduces the required deposit to five per cent, again to avoid the mortgage lenders insurance.

Popular house and land schemes have been slow to catch up with demand.

The government contributes up to 25 per cent towards the purchase price in exchange for an equivalent share in owning the property.

Like most states, Victoria also has stamp duty exemptions and concessions.

Just over a $1.1 billion was paid through more than 51,000 stamp duty concessions and exemptions and 21,000 First Home Owner Grants of up to $10,000 last year.

These grants are offered to Victorians buying or building a new home valued up to $750,000.

First home buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty if they buy a property for $600,000 or less.

In NSW, they can buy an existing home valued at less than $650,000 to apply for a full stamp duty exemption and pay no transfer duty.

If you buy a new home valued at less than $800,000 in NSW, you can apply for a full exemption or buy a new home valued between $800,000 and $1 million for a concessional rate.

In Queensland there is a grant of $15,000 towards buying or building your new home (valued at less than $750,000).

In South Australia, you can receive a grant of up to $15,000 for a new home of $575,000 or less.

Western Australia has a grant of $10,000 available for new or "substantially renovated" homes worth $750,000 south of latitude 26 (including Perth), and $1 million north of that line.

The lack of available housing has already been identified as a key problem for regional areas trying the cash in on the newfound popularity of country versus city.

REA Group's Ms Creagh points to the lack of homes available to buy.

"In the regions buyers have faced stiff competition and limited choice for much of the pandemic, with the total stock available for sale remaining 40 per cent below pre-pandemic levels," she said.

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