When life gives you lemons, the saying goes, you make lemonade. With its lockdowns and lost opportunities, 2020 was undeniably a lemon — but for many first homebuyers, government stimulus and a short pause in a booming property market meant that first toehold on the home ownership ladder was made all the sweeter.
Back in April 2020 when the fast-moving panic caused by the first global pandemic in over a century caused the Australian economy to take a steep nose-dive, buying houses was probably the last thing on people’s minds. As a robustly growing property market skidded to a halt, state and federal governments took decisive measures. The $25,000 national HomeBuilder grant was ushered in to keep the construction sector moving, quickly followed by a succession of grants and incentive schemes at the state level. The result was that new homebuyers, especially first homebuyers, were suddenly awash with assistance.
A year on, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular. Treasury figures show that applications for HomeBuilder more than exceeded expectations with double the number of people applying than original forecasted. And while HomeBuilder was not limited to first home buyers, the $25,000 federal grant along with existing state first homeowner grants, meant the ability to finance a new first home was up to $55,000 more attractive, depending on the state you were in.
To find out exactly how much of a difference 2020 made to the plans of first homeowners, we caught up with a brand-new soon-to-be resident of the Baldivis Parks community.
Jessica Taylor, Baldivis Parks, WA
Like many young Australian’s, Jessica Taylor had a long-term plan to save up, weigh her options, and strike when the moment was right to buy the perfect property. The combination of incentives available in 2020, meant that her plan was put into action several years ahead of schedule. "I always thought i'd wait until i got married to buy a place, but i realised in 2020 that i was wactually in a position to do it on my own:, Jessica explained. "When it came to the extra grants available, I realised I’d be crazy not to take the plunge now. Even if I’d waited a few more years to save, I wouldn’t have actually been able to save up that extra $55,000 in any reasonable amount of time.”Jessica started looking at potential new home sites in May last year, with Baldivis Parks in Western Australia a stand-out candidate as a place she could see herself putting down roots. “I knew Baldivis Parks from afar and I had friends that lived in the area. Every time I drove through the community, I got a really safe, family-friendly feeling like I was at home. So, that’s how I decided it was the one for me.”