First Home Buyers and builders are the big winners in the Western Australia budget. The budget lifts the first owner grant for those buying a newly built home or building a new home, by $3000 to $10,000.
The increase takes effect from September 15, bringing WA into line with other states and territories introducing measures to boost the take-up of new homes as the population expands.
Master Builders Association housing director Gavan Forster said new home builders would be “sipping a glass of champagne”.
He said the changes, coupled with lower interest rates, would enable 900 more houses to be built this year, and create 5000 jobs across WA.
“At a time when other industries are suffering, the government will be looking to the housing sector to pick up the slack from the reduction in the overall economy,” he said.
At the same time, the first homeowner grant for people wanting to buy established properties has been cut from $7000 to $3000.
Despite this cut, Real Estate Institute of WA president David Airey said he expected established houses to hold their value. Seven out of 10 first homebuyers chose established homes, and he believed they would continue to do this with or without a grant.
The government also increased the land tax by 12.5 per cent. In a bid to soften the blow, Treasurer Troy Buswell said an “anticipated reduction” in property value growth meant that 57 per cent of homeowners would pay no more than an extra $40.
The tax applies to residences not used as the primary home, such as investment and business properties.
Mr Buswell said the decisions had been difficult, but the government had sought to find a balance in raising the money needed for priority areas.