$4,000 not enough to make people leave SEQ

Today’s Courier-Mail reports:

Fewer than 100 people have applied for the State Government’s $4,000 Regional First Home Owner Grant, leaving a question mark over the scheme’s future.

A 12-month trial was launched in June to entice first-home buyers to settle outside the congested southeast.

But just 97 people have taken up the scheme in its first four months.

With just 97 first home buyers taking up the grant so far, the program is unlikely to make a noticeable impact on congestion in SEQ.  Furthermore it’s unclear that the Grant actually caused these 97 first home buyers to leave SEQ and buy in a regional area because, under the eligibility criteria for the Regional First Home Owner Grant, you don’t need to prove you previously lived in (or were considering buying) in SEQ.

So some (perhaps most) people taking up the Grant would have bought outside of SEQ anyway.  For these people, the Grant is a gift from the Government which achieves no public policy benefit.  Of course, this is an empirical question which the Government will need answered as it weighs up whether to continue the program beyond its 12-month trial.

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