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Raine & Horne applauds expansion of first home support but says more help is needed

May 4, 2023

“Whatever happened to the shared equity scheme?” asks Angus Raine, Chairman of Raine & Horne

Angus Raine, Executive Chairman of leading property group Raine & Horne, applauds the Federal Government for the expansion of the First Home Guarantee, and its regional equivalent, the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee.

However, with the Federal Budget just days away, Mr Raine is urging the government to do more to help the next generation of Australians enjoy the security of home ownership.

From 1 July 2023, the First Home Guarantee and Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee will allow co-buyers such as siblings and friends to get into the property market with a deposit of just 5%.

This follows the announcement by Minister for Housing Julie Collins that the definition of a “couple” used for each scheme will be expanded from a married or de facto couple to “any two eligible individuals”.

Mr Raine said, “The broadening of the concept of couple is a step in the right direction of solving the nation’s housing crisis as it allows buyers to pool their financial resources and improve their buying power.”

Mr Raine is encouraging co-buyers who may be friends or relatives to carefully consider the arrangement.

“Buying a home is a major investment, and money and friendship is not always an easy mix. It is important to discuss how sharing a home will work – from divvying up ongoing property expenses to deciding how issues such as one co-owner wanting to sell the property will be resolved,” said Mr Raine.

Mr Raine suggests having a co-buying arrangement drawn up by a solicitor that spells out the details of the arrangement so that buyers know where they stand both at the start of the arrangement and further down the track.

Additional support from the Federal Government

Mr Raine is calling on additional support from the Federal Government to help younger generations of Australians take their first step in the property market.

“One of the key elements of Labor’s 2022 election platform was a shared equity scheme called Help to Buy, designed to assist up to 10,000 low to middle earners own their own home. Yet here we are, fast approaching mid-2023, in the midst of a serious housing crisis, and we are no closer to a shared equity scheme being available,” said Mr Raine.

In May 2022, the then Labor Opposition announced that Help to Buy would provide eligible homebuyers with an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home and up to 30 per cent of the purchase price for an existing home.  
Under the plan, a homebuyer would need to have a deposit of 2% and qualify for a standard home loan with a participating lender to finance the remainder of the purchase.   

Mr Raine said, “We have seen the government double Foreign Investment Review Board application fees with the express purpose of funding Help to Buy. Yet desperate home buyers still have no indication of when the scheme will commence.

“We can only hope that the upcoming Federal Budget provides some sort of clarity on the availability of the Scheme, allowing Australians to make firm plans to get started in the housing market.

“If the Government does allocate funding to bring Help to Buy to life, a comprehensive communication strategy will be essential to ensure consumers know about it. In a crowded news environment, many schemes fall flat simply because people aren’t aware of what’s available,” added Mr Raine.