Grant expansion gives towns a fighting chance

FAMILIES and young people could reap the benefits if the First Home Owners’ Grant is expanded to existing homes, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto is pushing the State Government to expand the grant’s criteria to include not only new homes but existing homes which are in abundance throughout regional towns.

“We are seeing too many towns suffer a worrying population slide as young people and families are effectively priced out of the market,” the Katter’s Australian Party MP said.

“They can’t afford to build a new home but an existing home would definitely be within reach if the First Home Owners’ Grant was made available to them.”
Mr Dametto said the policy, which has long been touted by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, would boost the local economy and keep families in the area.

“This is a shot in the arm our region needs,” he said.

“The State Government needs to understand that regional towns are different to metro centres. Economies are flat with limited or no housing development occurring.

“Purchasing existing homes with the help of this grant would drive sales and allow sellers to upscale, moving the cycle forward.”

Mr Dametto held positive discussions with Assistant Minister for Treasury Glenn Butcher last month about expanding the grant, with Treasury now analysing how the proposal would impact on government spending.

“First impressions from that meeting were good and I’m hopeful we can get an outcome,” Mr Dametto said.

“I definitely won’t be letting this issue go and I eagerly await the response from Treasury.”

New Ingham property owner Jerami Grassi, 20, said such a grant would have been of huge benefit to him financially before he purchased his duplex last November.

“I have no doubt in my mind that breaking into the property market would have been significantly easier if I had received the First Home Owners’ Grant,” he said.

“I intended on purchasing an existing home to live in, however, was ineligible to receive the grant and so due to this, I decided to purchase an investment property first.”

Mr Grassi said extending the grant to existing homes would be a viable option for many residents in regional communities, knowing of at least 10 friends and family alone who could benefit.

“There are a number that are looking to buy a first home but find purchasing a property an expense too great to consider,” he said.

“Many regional areas generally have a lower income and as a result of this, the grant may potentially allow residents to invest in their community instead of moving elsewhere.”

Nick Dametto MP