Last month, the South Australian Government released its 2023-2024 State Budget, detailing a new $474.7 million housing package. Called A Better Housing Future, it supports building 3600 new homes in South Australia over the next five years. Alongside this, the budget includes some important – and money-saving! – changes for renters and people looking to purchase their new first home.
FIRST HOME BUYERS
The big winners in the new budget are first-home buyers. There are five fundamental changes, which we’ll look at in more detail:
- ABOLISHING STAMP DUTY FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS
This big one is estimated to help around 3800 first-home buyers each year by abolishing stamp duty for eligible first-time buyers purchasing a new home valued up to $650 000, with relief progressively phased out for properties valued up to $700 000. Also, abolishing stamp duty when purchasing vacant land to build a first home for land valued up to $400 000, with relief phasing out for land valued up to $450 000.
This will save buyers a considerable amount of money. For example, for a home valued at $650 000, buyers will save $29,580 in waived stamp duty fees. You can check the details and eligibility conditions here.
- INCREASING THE FIRST HOME OWNER GRANT PROPERTY VALUE CAP
This is another significant win for first-home buyers. The First Home Owner Grant property value cap increases from $575 000 to $650 000. An eligible first-home buyer who enters into a contract to purchase a new home valued at $650 000 after 15 June 2023 could receive relief of up to $44 580.
- FAST-TRACKING FIRST HOMEBUILDER APPROVALS
Another fundamental change is a fast-tracked approval process for eligible first-home buyers building their homes. The government pledges to expedite the planning approval process to see buyers move into their new homes sooner.
- 2% HOME DEPOSIT LOAN FOR FIRST-HOME BUYERS BUILDING A HOME
HomeStart will introduce a new home loan that will enable eligible first-home buyers building a new home to take out a loan with as little as a 2 per cent deposit. This measure improves on the government’s election commitment of 3 per cent.
Combined, these measures could take years off the time it takes to save for a deposit and buy a house. The below table gives you an idea of the support available, and for more information, check out the HomeStart website.
- GREATER ACCESS TO HOMESTART’S INTEREST-FREE STARTER LOAN
Previously, to qualify for a HomeStart interest-free loan, the annual income caps were $65 000 for singles and $90 000 for couples. The new budget has upped the caps to $75 000 for singles and $100 000 for couples. More information is available here.
RESIDENTIAL TENANCY REFORMS
Alongside the significant purchasing reforms, the budget introduces changes to rental tenancy agreements, including:
- Increasing the weekly rent threshold for six-week bonds from $250 to $800 per week.
- Banning rent bidding where prospective tenants are encouraged to offer above the advertised price.
- Protecting tenants’ rights and information.
- Expanding eligibility for the private rental assistance program.
Overall, Housing has been given significant attention in the 2023 SA Budget, reflecting the government’s attempt to tackle housing affordability and homelessness. In particular, first-home buyers receive much attention as the budget includes substantial changes and increases in funding. These changes may create a more inclusive and equitable housing market in South Australia.