A month after its earlier than expected launch, and as inflation continues to batter the housing market, 364 regional Australians have taken advantage of the Albanese government's regional first home buyers' support scheme.
The pledge to assist an extra 10,000 first home buyers a year under the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee was due to start next January, but was brought forward to October 1.
Under the scheme, first home buyers in the regions could buy property with a deposit of just 5 per cent instead of the usual standard of around 20 per cent. The government would guarantee the additional amount needed to reach the 20 per cent threshold, thus allowing borrowers to avoid paying thousands of dollars in lender's mortgage insurance.
With housing prices in the regions taking off, the Housing Minister is hoping the scheme's early momentum continues.
"It's fantastic that so many regional Australians have already taken advantage of the Albanese Government's targeted support for first home buyers," Julie Collins said in a statement.
"This guarantee fulfills a commitment we made before the election and forms part of the Albanese Labor Government's ambitious housing reform agenda.
With the government providing a guarantee of up to 15 per cent of the value of the property purchased, it could save the buyer up to $32,000 for a property in the Illawarra, Central Coast and Hunter regions.
The Albanese government has announced a range of measures to address Australia's housing affordability and supply crisis, including the National Housing Accord announced in the October budget to bring together all levels of government, investors, and the construction sector.
The accord aspires to be behind the ambition to build one million new homes over five years from 2024, many of which are aimed to be in regional areas.
The $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund election commitment also pledges to build 30,000 new social and affordable houses in its first five years.
"We know how important affordable housing is for Australians dealing with the increasing cost of living, which is why we are acting and delivering," Ms Collins said.
The regional first home buyers scheme runs alongside the national First Home Loan Deposit Scheme which is fully subscribed at 10,000 places and operates on a first-in, first-served basis.