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Entire towns shunned from Victorian government’s first home buyer fund

Dozens of towns across Victoria have been left off a new first home buyers fund, with agents in peak growth areas questioning why would-be home buyers in their regions have been forgotten.

The government will cover a quarter the cost of new homes in exchange for a share in the property, with thousands of new homebuyers expected to take advantage of the fund.

The scheme was introduced to ease the pressure of lenders mortgage insurance, as well as reduce the amount of money needed for buyers to enter the market.

But promising towns in high growth areas near the Grampians and Surf Coast have been excluded from the fund.

Modern suburban houses on the hill in Melbourne
Camera IconTowns in high growth areas near the Grampians and Surf Coast have been excluded from the fund. Credit: News Regional Media

It has raised the eyebrows of some real estate agents, who claim it is a big blow to smaller communities wanting to grow their economies.

Stawell real estate agent Terry Monaghan said there had been an almost 33 per cent rise in property prices in the area during the pandemic, signalling that more people wanted to buy in smaller areas outside of the city.

He said there had been significant movement away from the city, as the town was on the doorstep of the Grampians.

“I don’t understand why some towns have been left off the list – it’s as though the government doesn’t want you to buy in Stawell, they’d rather people bought apartments in South Yarra.

“The more people who buy houses out here, the better the education, the better the health services we get.

“It’s a growth area and there’s a lot of people wanting workers, and we need people to come and be part of the area.”

Man smiling at camera
Camera IconStawell real estate agent Terry Monaghan says he was stunned some regional areas missed out on the homebuyer fund. Credit: NCA NewsWire

Some of the high profile towns shunned from the list include Aireys Inlet, Stawell, Hamilton, Alexandra, Anglesea, Beaufort, Avoca and Charlton among dozens of other areas.

Mr Monaghan said his office had been approached by numerous first home buyers following the announcement, who were stunned to discover their town was not eligible.

After reaching out to the state revenue office to find out why, he was told locations had been chosen with a focus on supporting purchases in “large population centres and medium sized towns”.

Mr Monaghan said he was disappointed the government had chosen to increase crowding in overpopulated Melbourne, rather than decentralising populations across the smaller areas.

“Prices have gone up significantly since the start of Covid, but it’s still relatively affordable for young families,” Mr Monaghan said.

“I don’t understand how the government can take tax from all the people in this area and give the money to someone who wants to buy a flat in Toorak.“I hope the government rethinks the whole situation. It is not correct. You can’t support one area against other areas – it’s basically wrong.”

Camera IconVictorian Treasurer Tim Pallas announced the fund earlier this month. Credit: News Corp Australia

In announcing the fund earlier this month, Treasurer Tim Pallas said the government was committed to helping people realise their dream of buying a home.

“I hope that Victorians recognise that this is a very substantial step towards assisting those people who have seen the dream of home ownership denied them,” he said.

“It is vitally important that we constantly challenge ourselves to find ways to help those who are not in home ownership.”

But leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council David Davis said the government did not seem to care about Victorians outside of Melbourne.

“The Treasurer needs to step in immediately and admit he’s blundered. He needs to open the fund to all eligible Victorians who meet the criteria, wherever they live,” Mr Davis said.

“The Labor Party have dragged massive amounts of tax from families through stamp duty and have made the dream of home ownership increasingly unaffordable for Victorian families.

“It is a nasty, deliberate tactic to discriminate against some country people and families.”

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