The Treasurer responded to criticism about the eligibility criteria for the $5000 New Home Grant, which was introduced in 2012 "when the NSW housing sector was close to an all-time low". Mr Baird explained that the purpose of the New Home Grant is to boost housing supply, thereby putting downward pressure on prices and rents. The New Home Grant is available to foreign purchasers.
In distinction, the government introduced the First Home Owner Grant, which is worth a minimum of $15,000, providing up to $35,000 benefit for Australian residents seeking to purchase their first home in NSW. The grants are only available to people purchasing properties in new developments, not exceeding $650,000 in value.
The Treasurer spoke with optimism about the current state of the NSW housing sector, saying "the positive turnaround we are seeing in the state’s critical housing sector suggests the NSW Government’s policies of targeting incentives towards new housing and expediting the release of new housing lots are working".
Mr Baird said that he is conscious of the pressure on first home buyers that foreign investors could be applying, and pledged to continue looking at options to ensure that first home buyers are given every support to own their own home. He also issued a note of caution, stating "any policy action we take must not jeopardise the recovery in the housing sector that is currently underway."