First home owner costs to rise come July 1
BUILDERS are bracing for a last-minute rush as first home buyers scramble to beat higher costs and cash in on a $20,000 housing grant that's set for cutbacks from July 1.
The urgency has ramped up amid industry warnings that Budget measures announced by the Queensland Government would increase the cost of building a house in the state.
A spokeswoman for Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad yesterday confirmed to The Courier-Mail that the Great Start Grant would drop from the current $20,000 to $15,000 where it would remain throughout the 2018-19 year
A $5,000 boost had been added to the grant on July 1, 2016 by former Treasurer Curtis Pitt, with the measure supposed to be in place for just a year.
However it was then extended twice in six-month spurts - to the end of 2017 and then to June 30 this year.
Ms Trad allocated $32m for the First Home Owners' Grant for the 2018-19 year, which was $12.4m more than allocated in the previous Budget - but part of that was expected to offset the cost of the previous years' $5,000 boost.
Master Builders deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell warned the Budget measures would lead to a rise in the cost of building a new home.
"It's a triple whammy for housing builders, with the Treasurer calling an end to the First Home Owners Boost, the recently announced waste levy and the impact of land tax increases - which together will raise the cost of building a new home."
He said the industry was "incredibly disappointed" that the boost was not extended given buyers numbers were "already in decline".
"There is no denying it was a foot in the door for first home buyers."
High hopes of industry that the grant would be extended to existing homes in regional areas were also dashed, with the grant to remain specifically "for the purchase or construction of new dwellings valued at less than $750,000", according to Budget papers.
Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said the State was banking on an 11 per cent increase in land tax revenue off the back of its previously announced increase to the highest threshold by 25 per cent and bracket creep.
"Now Queensland's rates are far higher than NSW and Victoria," he warned. "The tax increases locked in by the Budget will increase the cost of housing for Queenslanders, increase rents for Queensland businesses, and reduce the amount of offshore investment in the state, which will ultimately translate to fewer jobs for Queenslanders."