Grafton homebuyers get in quick

FIRST-HOME buyers have caused a flurry of activity in the Clarence Valley finance market but not all enquiries have translated into sales.

Westlawn Finance managing-director Mark Dougherty confirmed there had been an increase in first-home buyers making enquiries for finance in Grafton since the Federal Government introduced incentives last year.

“We were getting one or two a week, now it's more like four or five,” he said.

Until June 30, first-home buyers can receive $14,000 when they buy an established home and $21,000 for a new home, provided they meet the criteria.

Previously, they only received a $7000 grant.

In NSW, first-home buyers who buy or build a new home can receive an extra $3000, taking the total amount of State and Federal funding to $24,000.

Mr Dougherty said first-home buyer enquiries came from a mix of young couples and people who had lived at home for some time and were looking to move into their own place. However, he said not everyone who made enquiries were eligible, either for the grants or for finance.

“There have been a lot of enquiries ... some qualify, some don't,” he said.

Bank of Queensland branch manager Peter Gibbons said first-home buyers were a relatively small part of the Grafton market, with many young people moving away after they finished school.

However, he agreed there had been an increase in enquiries from first-home buyers over the past year.

With only four months left until the June 30 deadline and the Federal Government staying tight-lipped as to whether the time line will be extended, Mr Gibbons said first-home buyers needed to consider whether they were ready to buy a home soon to take advantage of the grants.

“People have to make their mind up whether to purchase in the next four months,” he said.

He said any activity in the market was positive for the local economy.

“Hopefully the Government will come to the party and extend the offer for at least six months.”

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