Housing, Boundaries and Cash for New Homes
Last Wednesday, the Herald Sun published an article reporting the Planning Minister's firmer stance on maintaining the Urban Growth Boundary of Melbourne. It states "Planning Minister Matthew Guy said Melbourne had reached its geographical limits and the days of expanding the urban growth boundary were over."
The justification for the incentive is more and cheaper housing - though this is not based on any evidence. The treasurer was quoted "Increasing the First Home Owner Grant on newly constructed properties and boosting the stamp duty concession will make the dreams of many young Victorians become a reality sooner". Really? Is it really our dream to contribute to urban sprawl and the lifestyles that come with it?
Instead, the focus will shift to regional towns, with the minister claiming "Twenty years from now, if you want to live in a house-and-land-style market, that's going to be outside Melbourne" . This is part of a push for Victoria to become a 'state of cities' rather than a 'city state'. Decentralisation is not new in Victoria. But what will it accomplish this time?
With this stance on the UGB, it's also intended that "Melbourne will need to accommodate greater density in defined areas". Yep, there you go - the 'd' word. But how does this fit with yesterday's announcement that first home owners buying new homes will get a monetary bonus, whilst those buying established homes miss out?
Currently, the deal is First Home Buyers get $7,000 for both new and established homes. As of July 1, those buying new homes will get $10,000 whilst the $7,000 currently offered for established homes will be scrapped (although stamp duty savings of up to 50% will be applied for all first home buyers).
So essentially this is adding a $10,000 incentive to buy a new home. Where are the new homes in Melbourne? In the growth areas. Where are the jobs, services and infrastructure? Not in growth areas (generally). So it seems that this policy will likely encourage the sprawl that the Minister hopes to quell with his latest comments on the UGB. It also goes against the objectives of the Metro Strategy which seek to realise potential in middle ring suburbs, and promote a '20 minute city'.