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First home buyer hit, but market still strong | Real Estate Blog – Niche Portfolio

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

CHANGES to stamp duty concessions for NSW’s first home buyers are expected to slow housing trade but Bathurst real estate agents are confident investors will ensure the local market remains strong.

From January 1, the NSW Government’s First Home Plus scheme – which gave eligible purchasers concessions of up to $18,000 on stamp duty – was replaced by the First Home-New Home scheme.

First home buyers can still take advantage of the one-off $7000 First Home Owner Grant, however, only new homes will receive concessions on stamp duty under the new scheme.

Bathurst Real Estate principal Michael Whittaker said most first home buyers will now have to factor the transfer tax into their purchase.

“Most newish homes cost a minimum of $350,000, so are they [the NSW Government] encouraging first home buyers to spend more than they can afford?” Mr Whittaker said. “For a $250,000 home, first home buyers will have to come up with an extra $7000.

“I think a better option for regional NSW would be not to scrap concessions completely, but to reduce the threshold from $600,000 to around $300,000. While I think the State Government has got it wrong, buyers shouldn’t despair. With recent interest rate cuts, it is not out of the equation for first home buyers to afford a property; people should look to buy and buy within their means.”

Mr Whittaker said the New Year’s Eve deadline for previous concessions conjured a significant amount of first home buyer activity late last year, though he expects an initial easing of the market now that changes have come into effect.

“There is probably less chance of continual strong first home buyer activity at the moment, but I think there will be a growth in investor activity,” he said. “The year 2012 will be the year of the investor. Should that be the case, pressure on the rental market should ease.”

Professionals Bathurst Real Estate director James Thompson agreed that 2012 was shaping up to be a busy year for the residential property market.