Hunter first home buyers get $12m in grants, concessions

FIRST home buyers across much of the Lower Hunter have pocketed more than $12 million in government grants and concessions in a year, with the take-up highest in suburbs including Gillieston Heights and Edgeworth, figures show.

Booming Rutherford was top of the list of popular suburbs with first home buyers, with 87 state government grants worth nearly $1.3 million handed out, as well as concessions worth more than $400,000, from July 2013 to the end of June 2014.

The grants of $15,000, aimed at stimulating the state’s housing sector, are available to first home buyers building or buying new properties, now capped at a value of $750,000  up from $650,000 last year.

Overall Maitland first home buyers scored more than $2 million, according to figures released by the government.

But they were outdone by those buying in Lake Macquarie.

There, 165 grants worth more than $2.3 million were handed out, with Edgeworth far and away its most in demand area with 72 first home buyers.

Newcastle’s most popular suburb was Waratah where 16 grants were given out, with city buyers pocketing $3.4 million in support overall.

“We’ve assisted more than 500 first home buyers in the Hunter in the past year and paid out $7.5 million in grants, with suburbs like Edgeworth, Rutherford, Wallsend and Gillieston Heights enjoying the highest take up rates in the region,’’ Treasurer Andrew Constance said.

“We want to make it easy as we can to help first-time buyers get the keys to their new home – that’s why as part of our budget we increased the threshold of the First Home Owners Grant to $750,000.’’

However, the Hunter’s take up rates weren’t enough to push it into the top 20 suburbs across the state for first home buyer grants and concessions combined.

Suburbs of western Sydney were the most popular choices, with Wollongong rounding out the list.

Spring Farm, in Sydney’s south west, topped the state, with first home buyers receiving about $7 million.

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