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TIP: First Home Buyer Loan Scheme details unveiled, expats told to sell, GST to replace stamp duty?

Stock hike does little to dampen auction clearance rates

Despite the number of homes that went under the hammer across Australian capital cities over the weekend jumping by a third, auction clearance rates stayed strong. Preliminary dipped slightly to 75 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne, according to Domain, but more properties sold overall - and in the key markets, sold at a premium.

Nice timing then, for the Morrison government to release draft details behind its deposit scheme for first home buyers on Sunday. The draft Investment Mandate for the First Home Loan Deposit scheme lays out the "appropriate price thresholds" for properties in each market.

In NSW, that threshold is $700,000 for the city and regional centres, and $450,000 for the rest of the state. VIC's thresholds are $600,000 and $375,000 respectively - and the numbers go down from there according to location.

...which means any dreams of taking advantage of the scheme to pick up a cheeky one-bedder in Bondi (pictured) have gone the way of the Dodo, then.

Applicants might be lucky to pick up something in the fire sale of residences owned by the estimated 100,000 Australian expats who are being told to sell up by June 2020 or face new capital gains tax slugs. Lucky for them the market is heating up again.

Speaking of which, AVJennings is the latest home builder to proclaim new home construction conditions are starting to improve, after Mirvac and Stockland made similar noises during their quarterly results announcements last week. AVJennings chairman Simon Cheong said market demand drivers are in-place and the business was confident about the future.

No doubt these companies are closely watching a proposal by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet's proposal to abolish stamp duty in NSW as part of a sweeping tax reform agenda that is facing mounting opposition from Canberra. NSW is looking to replace stamp duty with land tax as a more sustainable and equitable revenue platform, particularly as GST revenue to Australia's largest state economy continues to decline.

This has bought more pundits out of the woodwork, including WA Liberal senator Dean Smith with the renewed suggestion that the answer to these problems is an increase in the GST to 12.5 per cent. As Hockey and Cormann might say, give that man a cigar.

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