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By Bonny Burrows

Pakenham has experienced a “rapid increase” in people wanting to look at properties within the area this year but a lack of supply is making it difficult to meet demand.
Pakenham real estate agents have reported an increase in interest in the area, but remain divided on whether this is due to changes to the First Home Owners Grant.
As of 1 July, the grant was increased from $10,000 to $20,000, helping up to 6000 Victorian first home buyers enter the property market.
For first home buyers, stamp duty was also abolished on all homes up to $600,000 with cuts to stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000.
Premier Daniel Andrews said doubling the grant would give “young people in regional Victoria even more to live locally”.
“Importantly, we’re not making these changes in isolation. As our regional communities grow, we’re also investing in public transport, local roads, and the schools and hospitals they need,” Mr Andrews said.
He said it was also expected that construction jobs would increase as a result of the changes.
Pakenham real estate agent Steve Hobson of Gerard Collins said the company had received a “strong response from first home buyers purchasing properties off the plan” since the changes.
“Affordability, first home owners grant and no stamp duty has seen buyers take advantage in our area,” Mr Collins said.
However, Todd McKenna of First National Real Estate Neilson Partners said while there had been an increase in local interest there was a lack of available land and properties.
“We’ve got a growing population and a lack of stock, combined with limited land release,” Mr McKenna said.
He said that while the intention was good, a downfall of the First Home Owners Grant was that it brought more people into a tight marketplace.
“This increases the difficulty for first home buyers to enter the market as it makes an already crowded market even more crowded.
“It puts those trying to enter the market under pressure and results in them paying more.”
The $20,000 grant is applicable to contracts signed since 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020 at which time the government will review the benefits for first home buyers and businesses in regional Victoria.

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