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Property not immune from Budget cutbacks

By Stefanie Garber
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While last night’s federal Budget introduced no changes to negative gearing or capital gains tax, property investors may still be affected by austere spending cuts.

According to the announcement, the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) will be discontinued.

This program provided incentives for builders and investors to rent out properties at below market value to low-income families.

While existing NRAS properties will be unaffected by the change, round five of the scheme will no longer go ahead.

This move is expected to save the government $235.2 million over the next three years.

The Real Estate Association of Australia (REIA) welcomed an end to NRAS.

“The government has indicated that the National Rental Affordability Scheme should be reviewed – an action REIA supports,” president Peter Bushby said.

However, prior to the Budget, Property Council executive director Nick Proud came out in defence of the scheme.

“NRAS has been an important driver in increasing housing supply across Australia,” he said.

The Green Building Council of Australia also expressed support for the program, arguing it promoted housing affordability.

First home buyers may also face a tougher time under the new Budget, with the announcement the First Home Savers Account Scheme would be scrapped.

People saving to buy their first home using this account were eligible for government contributions to their savings.

The REIA expressed concern that first home buyer numbers would dwindle further as a result of this change.

“We would like to have seen the scheme reviewed and improved rather than simply thrown on the scrap heap because of an initial low uptake,” Mr Bushby said.

“With homeownership in Australia declining and first home buyers finding it increasingly difficult to enter the housing market, this will not help the situation.”

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