The Queensland government’s focus on infrastructure and small businesses in its budget has been described as positive for the state’s real estate sector; however more could have been done to assist first home buyers.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella congratulated Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt on his first budget and his attempts to deliver the state a surplus, but believes changes to the first home buyers grant should have been included.

“On balance we applaud Mr Pitt’s efforts to return the Budget to surplus,” Mercorella said.

“We were disappointed to see the Treasurer did not extend the first home buyers grant to include established homes, a measure that would have unlocked additional funds for new home buyers getting into the market,” she said.

$115 million dollars was allocated for the construction of three new schools in Cairns and Townsville, while roads across the state will see serious investment, all of which Mercorella believes will benefit the Queensland property market.

“Increased employment opportunities bring economic stability and that will help people make a decision about whether to rent or to buy; whether to stay or to move,” she said. 

“It also benefits property values when transport is upgraded, improving accessibility and reducing commute times.

“The $4 billion that the Government intends to spend on arterial roads, including the upgrade of the Gateway Motorway North to six lanes, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the roads being improved on the Gold Coast in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, will provide stable employment prospects for workers.”

Zoran Solano, a buyers’ agent with Queensland based Hot Property Specialists Buyers Agency backed the REIQ’s analysis of the budget.

“Getting first home buyers into the market is important and as we start seeing affordability drop off due to the capital growth we’re seeing it’s important that we incentivize that,” Solano said.

“Personally what I would have liked to seen is maybe a jump back in time to five or so years ago where people who buy a new home receive a boosted first home buyers grant and we give the current grant to people who buy established homes.”

The budget contained no changes to the state’s stamp duty arrangements; however Solano said that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“Stamp duty is one of the largest streams of revenue for the government and in a way it would be political suicide if they got rid of it, so I can see why there hasn’t been any changes.

“The other thing is we’re benefitting at the moment from a lot of infrastructure investment in the state, projects like the bus ways in Brisbane, which will make our market more attractive to buyers and those projects need revenue to fund them so I think it’s a decent trade-off.”

The infrastructure investment is also welcomed by Julio De Laffitte, head of JDL Strategies, however he isn’t quite so pleased about the continuing presence of stamp duty in the state.

“The Gold Coast will receive a boost with significant spending on the Commonwealth Games facilities and associated work. Also road projects on the Gold Coast, Coomera and in the Yarrabilba Priority Development area will help as will the rail duplication from Coomera to Helensvale,” De Laffitte said.

“What isn’t there is a move towards abolishing Stamp Duty which is a major impost on home buyers and investors. This needs to happen for the housing industry, particularly those areas that have not yet seen the upswing that is evident in parts of Melbourne and Sydney.

“NSW Premier Mike Baird remains keen to discuss reforms to stamp duty but I would like to hear more from Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about Queensland’s preparedness to abolish stamp duty.”