The NSW government insists first home buyers are “back in the game” as a result of increased stamp duty relief introduced in mid-2017.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday said she was “thrilled” by figures which suggest more than 19,000 people accessed stamp duty concessions since the more generous regime was introduced in July.
That compares to 5400 first home buyers in the corresponding period 12 months ago.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve seen the number nearly quadruple,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Oran Park.
“I know what a challenge it is for people getting into the market for the first time.”
NSW last year eliminated stamp duty for first home buyers purchasing a property valued up to $650,000 and provided savings for homes valued up to $800,000.
At the same time, foreign investors were slugged hit additional surcharges.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet insists first home buyers are now “back in the game”.
“The families of western Sydney and regional NSW are the big winners,” he said.
Asked about the fact that affordability was still a huge problem closer to the city, Ms Berejiklian said people could buy inner city units and still get the concessions.
“It’s not for the government to tell people where they live,” the premier noted, adding her own first purchase was a tiny unit with fours sets of stairs.
Ms Berejiklian said the concessions would remain in place “indefinitely”.
Pushed on whether they’d remain so long as she was premier, the Liberal leader said: “That’s definitely our intention.”
But Labor says NSW still lags behind other states when it comes first home buyers entering the market.
Shadow treasurer Ryan Park accused Ms Berejiklian of “cherry-picking data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics”.
The ABS figures showed that last year there were 9188 more first home buyers in Victoria and 2047 more in Queensland compared to NSW, he said.
“Sydney is only behind Hong Kong on being the worst overall in terms of affordable housing markets. Sydney is more unaffordable than London, New York and Tokyo.”