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Breaking News – Welcome State Budget Relief for WA Real Estate and Families

Positive Benefits for First Home Buyers, Rental Reforms, Housing Supply, Social Housing and Homelessness Plus Cost of Living Relief for All Australian Families

Real Estate Industry WA (REIWA) welcomes the measures to support housing supply and affordability announced in the Cook Government’s first budget today.

While there is no silver bullet to addressing the challenges WA’s housing market faces, we welcome the Government’s decision to opt for incentives to boost housing supply rather than punitive measures such as new taxes, as we’ve seen in other states.

The fundamentals of the WA economy remain strong, with the Treasurer forecasting that the state is on track to reach 3 million people next financial year. This will drive ongoing demand for housing and see house prices continue to climb.

We were particularly pleased to see changes to the property price thresholds for first-home buyer stamp duty exemptions proposed in REIWA’s budget submission to better reflect current market conditions.

WA has seen strong property price growth over recent years, which we expect to continue. However, this has meant that first-time home buyers are not only having to pay more but haven’t been able to access the stamp duty concessions, which exempt purchasers from paying stamp duty on properties worth $430,000 or less, with tiered concessions on properties up to $530,000.

Under the changes, first-home buyers will now pay no transfer duty on homes valued up to $450,000. The threshold was previously $430,000. They will pay a concessional rate on purchases over $450,000 to $600,000. Previously the concession ceased at $530,000.

This is the first time the thresholds have been amended since July 2014, so lifting the thresholds is a welcome change to support first-home buyers in WA.

The changes will apply to agreements entered into today, 9 May 2024 and are expected to benefit up to 5,000 first-home buyers annually.

The thresholds for purchases of vacant land remain unchanged.

Funding for rental reforms

REIWA’s Budget submission also called for funding for the new dispute resolution process, announced as part of the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. The dispute resolution process was a key part of the reforms to ensure a more streamlined dispute resolution process.

We highlighted the importance of ensuring adequate funding to support the change and welcomed the allocation of $3.3 million in 2024-25 and ongoing funding in the following years.

Housing Supply and a New Rental Incentive Scheme of $5,000 for Homeowners

The Budget also included a range of previously announced measures to boost housing supply.

This week the Government announced the Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme, providing $5,000 to owners of vacant properties who make their property available as a long-term rental.

The successful Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) Incentive Scheme, which has provided rental homes for 150 households so far, has also been extended.

Both initiatives will help put a roof over more families’ heads by incentivising property owners to participate in the long-term rental market rather than introducing punitive measures such as vacancy taxes or levies on properties offered on the short-stay market, as we’ve seen elsewhere.

The Budget also addressed new home construction, allocating $85 million for training initiatives.

$34.8 million has also been provided to unlock regional development-ready land for new housing in Broome, Karratha and Kalgoorlie.

Social Housing and Homelessness 

The Government has invested an additional $400 million to expand the Social and Affordable Housing Investment Fund to deliver another 1,000 social homes.

$92.2 million has been allocated to support more than 120 homelessness services across WA.

Cost of Living Relief with Energy Bill Credits, Student Support and Regional Flights

The Budget also included another $400 energy bill credit for all WA households and eligible small businesses, further support for families with $250 available for each high school student and $150 for each kindergarten and primary school student, and free public transport for school-aged children.

$65 million will be used to continue the affordable airfare caps for regional WA residents and $20 million to boost the Regional Pensioner Travel card by $100 to $675.

Source REIWA – 10/05/2024