Make First Home Buyer assistance available to ALL First Home Buyers in Australia.

Make First Home Buyer assistance available to ALL First Home Buyers in Australia.

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Amy Emerson started this petition to Hon Michael Sukkar MP (Minister for Housing) and

Dear Honorable Michael Sukkar, 

I am writing this letter today to share with you my recent experience with the FirstHome Loan Deposit Scheme, and to express my disappointment to hear that the 10,000 spots released today, although great news for some first home buyers, just exemplifies the inequality of support from the Government to provide assistance for ALL first home buyers. 

My name is Amy, and I am a 34 year old mother of a two-year-old. I live with my partner Josh (35), and we have been renting (together and in respective share houses prior) for the past 15 years. The long tenure of paying other people’s mortgages is partly by choice, but mostly by circumstance. 

We were both raised in low-mid socioeconomic households, went through the public school system, each working part-time from 14 and 9 months, and joining the full-time workforce from 18 years onwards. I had no option to stay in my family home once HSC finished. There were very little opportunities in my town, and my home environment was vulnerable, so I made the flea to another state and spent the next 5 years working and simply surviving. 

My partner and I have since worked our way up in our respective fields, despite the disparity of opportunities presented to us in comparison to many of our peers, we are so very proud of what we have achieved, although modest by some standards, it’s certainly not been easy to get where we are today. At the age of 26, I decided to enrol into university to better my opportunities for career advancement. I was rejected from the five courses that I applied for, only able to access higher education after completing a pathway through a TAFE diploma because of my less than desirable HSC marks. 

My four years at uni were great but really tough to maintain myself financially while renting in Sydney. I worked part-time, but was in debt, living week to week in overdraft. At the age of 30, I graduated (first in my family) with an honours degree and above-average marks. I also graduated with $13,000 in credit card debt, a perpetual debt that I had been paying off since my early 20’s, no savings, and was still renting. I didn’t even know how much money one needed for a house deposit, but one thing I did know was that the banks would never lend to someone in my position, so I never even entertained the idea.

Over the next few years, I was really lucky that I was quite ambitious, and my degree really did open doors. I found myself with more opportunities and salary increases. I paid my debts down lower and lower and was in a better position to start thinking positively about my future. 

After picking up a copy of the Barefoot Investor a couple of years ago, I have really focused on increasing my financial literacy, paying off all debts, saving, and learning the importance of cash flow and budgeting. My partner and I have saved really hard to get to a 5% deposit for a modest purchase of an existing home (in Sydney) up to the amount of $700,000, reaching our goal just prior to July this year. You could imagine our excitement when 1 July rolled around this year and 10,000 new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme spots were released. We had our sights on taking advantage of the assistance of the government covering LMI on the remaining 15% of our deposit, saving ourselves around $27,000 in total, but our excitement soon turned to disappointment, to no fault of our own. 

As a requirement of the FHLDS, one must have their 2020 Notice of Assessment (current year tax return) from the ATO, to secure a spot on the scheme. My partner and I both completed our current year tax returns with our respective accountants within the first 14 days of July. My notice of assessment arrived about 2 weeks later, yet my partner’s return was held up in processing with the ATO and didn’t arrive until mid-august. By the time our broker lodged our application, he was informed that all 10,000 spots had just dried up in the past 24 hours, and the scheme was no longer an option for us.

With all spots gone, like many others in the same position, we now have the option of coughing up the money to cover LMI (which on a $700,000 purchase is around $27,000), or keep saving until we have 20% which could take a matter of years. So today, I was feeling positive about the announcement of 10,000 newly released spots on the scheme, however, was only disheartened to learn that this assistance will only support those wishing to build new homes only.

What is most perplexing of all, is that the original intention of the scheme was to “assist in the purchase or construction of a modest home”. In Sydney, the property caps have now been increased to include new builds up to $950,000, and while Sydney is an expensive market, this can hardly be considered ‘modest’. It is a significant jump from the previous $700,000 standard of ‘modesty’ determined by the government, and a decision which forced my partner to move to from the inner city the far outskirts of Sydney just to even make the idea of owning a home more of a possibility.

By not opening the scheme up to ALL first home buyers, including those who want to buy an established property with far fewer funds available than the scheme cap allows, you are not providing opportunities for those who really need the scheme’s assistance to provide their families with housing security. 

I understand the predicament that we are in as a society, needing to rebuild the economy after this pandemic, but it is blind-sighted to provide such one-dimensional “assistance” for first home buyers, especially when is the additional HomeBuilder scheme to provide additional support to those wishing to build new homes.

In some cases, first home buyers capable of maxing out at the schemes cap at $950,000, might be in more fortunate positions than others who do not have alternative means to reach their goals of homeownership without the assistance of this scheme. They may earn a higher salary or be gifted money and be able to take less time to cover the LMI than someone with a lower salary who has saved over many years to get such a small deposit for a smaller purchase price. 

Honorable Michael Sukar, as Federal Housing Minister, I urge you to hear this honest account and to make assistance available to ALL first home buyers (abolishing the 10,000 place limit), or make first home buyer assistance available to those who need it the most, and those who may never get a chance at home ownership without it.









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