Stephanie Feldt and Michael Kranicz have just bought their first home in Lismore Heights, just managing to make the cut-off date for the First Home Buyers Grant before it runs out on Thursday.
Stephanie Feldt and Michael Kranicz have just bought their first home in Lismore Heights, just managing to make the cut-off date for the First Home Buyers Grant before it runs out on Thursday. CATHY ADAMS

Property ladder out of reach

DEMAND from young buyers have pushed Casino property prices five per cent higher, but there will be no last minute buying frenzy as the government fazes out its extension to the first-home buyers grant on Thursday, local real estate agents said yesterday.

Northern Rivers agents said that while demand among young buyers remained very strong, potential buyers would be disappointed due to the lack of houses on the market.

Over the last three to six months agents have reported buyers have given up on their preferred location and were looking further west in search of fulfilling the Australian dream of home ownership.

“No one has any stock for sale,” Ballina Real Estate Agent Brian Warrick of Wal Murray said. “The enquiries are still there and we even have a fair few investors looking around.”

First home buyers, Stephanie Feldt, aged 22, and Michael Kranicz, 28, admit they were lucky to find a home in Lismore.

The young couple had been looking for about nine months and lost out on their first choice at the last minute when another buyer put in a higher offer.

“We were looking every weekend, but there wasn't a lot out there,” Ms Feldt said. “It was very frustrating.”

She said if they hadn't found their home by Thursday's deadline, their dream would have evaporated.

“We would not have been able to do it without the grant, as we needed a 20 per cent deposit on the house,” Ms Feldt said.

Warrick MacDonald from The Professionals in Lismore said many potential home buyers were facing the same problem.

“First-home buyers demand has pushed through to the top of the market,” he said.

In Ballina, first-home buyers should expect to spend between $300,000 to $400,000, but properties in this price range were 'few and far between,' according to PRD Nationwide Ballina-Lennox Head salesperson Kendall Atkinson.

Casino LJ Hooker real estate's Jamie Ronan said as buyers looked west, a shortage developed in Casino for properties under $200,000.

Around the corner at George and Fuhrmann Real Estate it was a similar story.

“There is a shortage in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range,” sales person Jenny Pedrini said.

The agency listed 10 properties suitable for first-home owners in mid-August - all but one had sold by yesterday.

“Sales have been very strong since January.”

The agency now has a waiting list of people wanting to buy.

The First-Home Buyers grant was doubled to $14,000 for existing homes and to $21,000 for new properties last October, as part of the first economic stimulus package.

SHOULD COUNCILS BE ENCOURAGING DEVELOPERS? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948


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