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PERFECT STORM: Grant drives home market

PERFECT STORM: Grant drives home market
19th October 2020

A ONCE in a lifetime opportunity of housing grants and record low interest rates is driving a perfect storm for new home construction, developer Glen Maidment says.

While just a few months ago housing estates in Townsville were virtually idle, now the industry is hammering home a rare moment when it’s cheaper to buy than rent.

The managing director of the Maidment Group said they were rolling out more land at sites like their Harris Crossing project on the Bohle Plains to meet demand.

“It’s almost a perfect storm in the new home market for upgraders and first home buyers,” Mr Maidment said.

“The main driver is the $45,000 in government grants. On the other hand we also have historically low interest rates.

“You can see why so many people are lining up for a piece of the action.”

In June, the federal government announced a $25,000 HomeBuilder grant for owner occupiers developing a new home or substantially renovating an existing one, with the grant available for people signing contracts up to December 31. And the state government has restored a $15,000 First Home Owners Grant and, for regional areas, introduced a $5000 building boost. That’s $45,000 for first home buyers and $30,000 for others.

Mr Maidment said another critical element had been announcements by banks to allow applicants to use the grants as part of their deposit.

“That’s a really significant issue. Quite a few people who weren’t able to get out of the rental market before are now in the new land market,” Mr Maidment said.

He said they had sold about 60 lots at Harris Crossing, had brought forward construction of another 67 lots and had just opened a new sales and display centre.

They are partnering with builders to provide house and land packages from $369,000 or about $294 a week.

“For the first time in a long time it’s cheaper than renting,” he said.

“You drive in now and it feels like grand final at the MCG. There’s so many tradespeople, utes, cranes and trucks. We are anticipating a very busy end of the year.”

Townsville Bulletin, 19 October 2020, Journalist: Tony Raggat.