HomeStart, a State Government-owned home lender, has opened the doors of home ownership to nearly 1,400 first-time buyers in the most recent financial year. This achievement, highlighted in their latest annual report, represents the highest number of new loans provided in a decade, a significant milestone given the backdrop of escalating interest rates and house prices.
In the fiscal year 2022-23, HomeStart granted 1,394 new loans to first home buyers, marking a 38% increase from the previous year. This surge in support comes at a crucial time, as the Malinauskas Government’s recent state budget abolished stamp duty for first home buyers on new homes valued up to $650,000 in South Australia. This policy change has led to a more than 50% increase in enquiries for new loans following the announcement, indicating a positive response from the public.
HomeStart’s approach caters to lower-income South Australians, many of whom are ineligible for traditional home loans. By offering low-deposit loans without the burden of expensive lenders’ mortgage insurance, HomeStart is making home ownership more accessible than ever. In total, the organisation provided 2,046 home loans in 2022-23, another record-breaking figure for the decade. Impressively, over 1,000 of these loans were allocated to single-income households, showing a 44% increase from the previous year.
Remarkably, three-quarters of HomeStart’s loans were given to households earning incomes that qualify them for affordable housing. Since its inception in 1989, HomeStart has assisted over 83,000 individuals in owning their homes. This year, more than half of the beneficiaries were under 40, with a median customer income of $68,000, underscoring the organisation’s commitment to aiding younger generations and those with modest incomes.
The Malinauskas Government has shown a strong focus on enhancing housing supply and affordability. The June State Budget included a comprehensive $474.7 million housing package aimed at delivering 3,600 new homes over five years and reducing housing costs for approximately 14,000 new homes. This package includes the significant step of abolishing stamp duty for first home buyers on new homes up to a value of $650,000.
Stephen Mullighan, expressing his views on the matter, stated, “Everyone deserves secure and affordable housing, and the Malinauskas Government is doing everything it can to keep the dream alive.”
Andrew Mills, HomeStart’s Chief Executive, shared his delight in the organisation’s success in making home ownership a reality for more South Australians, particularly first-time buyers. “It’s pleasing to support homebuyers even while house prices, interest rates, and living costs are increasing,” he said, emphasising HomeStart’s role in not only assisting first-time buyers but also those re-entering the housing market.