Friday, June 2, 2017

NSW Government's affordability pledge

Hot on the heels of the NSW Opposition's announcement, Premier Berejiklian has brought forward the Government's own plan to improve housing affordability.

Announced yesterday, the policy has three different components: incentives for first home buyers/disincentives for foreign investors; fast-tracking development at higher densities; and building more infrastructure to support communities. Careful observers will note that tenants continue to be the real forgotten people, as rental affordability doesn't even rate a mention.

Tenants who are well-off enough to be pursuing a first home purchase will be pleased, as stamp duty exemptions will apply to all first home purchases up to $650,000 from July this year. That's a big change from the current scheme, which sees exemptions apply only to newly built homes up to $550,000, or land up to $350,000. Further concessions will apply all the way to $800,000, rather than the current $650,000. Additionally, a first home owner grant of $10,000 will apply to the purchase of a newly built dwelling up to $750,000, or an existing dwelling up to $600,000. That's a change from the current scheme that only offers a grant for first timers if they buy a new dwelling.

So, depending on what you're buying, first timers' up-front costs could be reduced by around $30,000. Of course, you'll still have to come up with a substantial deposit before you can borrow the balance, so you'd better keep up with your savings plan just to be on the safe side... and cross your fingers that the market has peaked, so that prices don't go up by another 50 or 60 grand before you can take advantage of those extra incentives. Then again, if you're already that close to buying into this market perhaps a correction, and protracted negative equity, is the last thing you want to contemplate right now... To which we say not to worry, with an army of reanimated first home buyers ready to let loose upon the market - each with a $30,000 spring in their step - it shouldn't take long for prices to start climbing again.

First home buyer incentives are only half the story, as changes to taxes and grants will also impact upon investors. Foreign investors will bear the brunt of it as they'll have to pay an increased surcharge on their stamp duty - doubling from 4% to 8% - as well as an increased surcharge on land taxes - increasing from 0.75% to 2%. But all investors will lose the New Home Grant, which was introduced in 2012 to encourage investors to increase supply by purchasing off-the-plan instead of established dwellings. And investors will no longer be able to defer their stamp duty liabilities when purchasing off-the-plan. The new policy could be an attempt to shift domestic investors back to trading in second hand stock - or perhaps it simply acknowledges that this is really what they're most interested in after all - while trying to keep new supply up by encouraging first timers to jump in off-the-plan. We'll need to keep on eye on the impact of this.

As for new supply, we'll take a look at the second and third aspects of the Government's housing affordability plan - fast-tracking supply and delivering more infrastructure - as soon as we can.

1 comment:

  1. not much you can purchase for 650k in sydney


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