My long term readers would be aware that one of my pet hates is that members of the real estate industry do not have the same legal declaration requirements as other traders of financial wares. Your local bank teller has to declare far more when you open a new bank account than a real estate agent does when trying to shoe-horn you into buying a house.
A couple of months ago I posted examples of undeclared real estate agents posing as first home buyers in our national newspapers in full view of regulators. On the weekend I noted yet another example, but this one was a little different.
First-home buyers will have thousands of dollars extra to spend when stamp duty relief kicks in this week. Real estate agents expect the extra cash will reinvigorate demand for established houses, which suffered in the first-home buyers’ market over the past year.
Based on median house prices in the top first-home buyer’s market, buyers will save on stamp duty from $2524 in Cranbourne to $4472 in Point Cook. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria has compiled figures for the top 13 Melbourne postcodes for which first-home buyer grants were given from last July 1 till March 31. The REIV’s Robert Larocca said that since 2009, when affordability worsened, the number of first-home buyers had dropped.
“The cuts first-home buyers can now access are a step in the right direction. They’ll improve affordability and act to increase levels of home ownership,” he said. The added relief was likely to lead more people to move from renting to buying. For five years, rental availability in Melbourne has hovered around a lowly 2 per cent.
First-home buyer Xavier Pearson said a delay in settlement on land he’d bought meant he’d now get the stamp duty relief.
“I’m pretty lucky, actually,” Mr Pearson, 29, said.
The property industry sales executive said it was likely the extra few thousand dollars would help those who hadn’t banked on hidden expenses. “People building a new home for the first time are often surprised by these sorts of things,” he said.
Caroline Springs Real Estate director Neil Hodson said while the stamp duty relief wasn’t a “massive amount of money”, western suburbs buyers counted every cent.
Ok, sure the pictured Xavier Pearson is a sales executive for Henley Properties who I am sure will benefit financially from the changes. But at least the Herald Sun bothered to declare his interest so that readers were able to make a judgement on whether his opinion was independent or not.
So credit where it is due. Yes it is a small step, but it is at least in the right direction.