A lending hand for regional first-home buyers

26 March 2022


When I talk to people in our community, housing is one of their biggest concerns.

Older people say they simply can’t understand how young people will get a start and many young people have given up on the great Australian dream altogether.

How can they save for a deposit when they are paying so much rent?

In the past decades, house prices have grown three times faster than wages and, according to the Reserve Bank houses are now worth 5.5 times annual disposable income compared to 2.5 times in the 1990s.

In the regions, mostly because of Covid migration out of capital cities, house prices have jumped 26% in a year, even more than the 21% in the capitals). In parts of the Hunter, the jump has been 33%.

It’s no wonder people are struggling.

Infrastructure Australia has said that housing is one of the biggest infrastructure challenges for regional Australia, and the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation State of the Nation Report, released in February 2022, found the biggest drop in affordability for first-time buyers was in the regions.

Labor has recognised the need to give regional first-home buyers a hand.

Our proposed Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme will help 10,000 regional Australians buy their first home.

The scheme will make it possible for first-home buyers to buy a house with just 5% deposit, without having to pay the dreaded Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (the one-off payment you need to pay to your bank if you have less than 20% deposit).

They will, of course, still need to qualify for the bank’s lending requirements. But they will not have to save a 20% deposit. The Government will guarantee the loan for up to 15% of the value of the home.

There will be some rules to ensure the policy really helps those it is intended to.

You must have lived in the region for 12 months, it must be your first home, you must live in the house, your income must be no more than $125,00 for singles and $200,00 for couples, and in the Hunter the house must be no more than $800,000.

There is not one ‘solution’ to the housing crisis, but together with our plan to build 30,000 social and affordable housing properties this scheme will help many more locals buy their first home.