Home hunters to act now

THE scrapping of the $19,500 State Government bonus for first time homebuyers will likely push those who were delaying purchasing to act now, according to local property pundits.

Stockdale and Leggo Latrobe Valley director Jim Demetrios said the “disappointing” cut meant the property market would likely be stimulated over the next few weeks.

“It may speed up the process of buying; it will cause people to make a commitment to house and land packages before the deal expires,” Mr Demetrios said.

In the recently-announced state budget, bonuses were cut for first home buyers giving rebates of $19,500 for a new dwelling under $600,000.

Compounded by interest rates coming down, he said “there has never been a better market for purchasers” now that the property market had stabilised.

In a surprise move last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed interest rates by 50 basis points to 3.75 per cent.

“The only concern is first home buyers have lost the huge benefit (of the bonus),” Mr Demetrios said.

He said the grant had resulted in many buyers purchasing more expensive homes.

“People will be more price conscious after this,” he said.

Meanwhile, John Kerr Real Estate director Robert Sim said affordability had always been an issue for first time buyers.

“The removal of the bonus will make it more difficult for buyers to enter into the marketplace; this move contradicts government policy in assisting regional areas, in my view,” Mr Sim said.

“There has also been news loans have dropped, and locally the building and construction sectors are down.

“You would have thought (the bonus) would be an incentive to keep things going…the removal of any grant or assistance will have a further dampening effect on the market.”

However, Mr Sim said there was still “a window of opportunity” until 1 June to purchase a property while the grant was still available.

He said new parcels of land coming into the market, including Mitchell Grove Estate in Moe, would be good news.

Wilson Property managing director Ben Wilson concurred, saying new supply of land in rezoned areas of Traralgon could ease pressure on demand.

“This might be appealing to first time buyers, and might mean builders will get busier,” Mr Wilson said.

On The Express’ Facebook page, several readers who could not afford to purchase property said the scrapping of the bonus had further delayed their plans to buy.

“Instead of being hopeful of signing a contract within 18 months, it will now be over three years away, at least,” Jadon Mintern said.

“$19,500 is a lot of money to save, especially when you’re trying to be responsible and not have any less than a 20 per cent deposit.”