Chris Warren of Chris Warren Homes and Master Builders Regional Manager Dennis Bryan deplore cuts to the First Home Owner grants
Chris Warren of Chris Warren Homes and Master Builders Regional Manager Dennis Bryan deplore cuts to the First Home Owner grants Jann Houley

CQ builders feeling the effects of first home owners cuts

THE cutting of the First Home Owners' grant has "literally halved” a Rockhampton business and could result in staffing cuts, its owner has claimed.

The First Home Owners' Grant, a Queensland Government initiative, was discounted from June 30 from $20,000 to $15,000 in the 2018-19 budget.

Chris Warren, from Chris Warren Homes, said he saw an immediate downturn in business due to the trimming of the First Home Owners' grant, even from when it was first claimed the grant could be decreased.

"The enquiry level was still there, but they just could not get their finance across the line,” he said.

"We didn't get enquiry for at least six weeks.”

Having been in business for 10 years, Mr Warren said the introduction of the First Home Owners' grant wasn't a massive boost in economic terms.

"There was an increase in business but it's never been a crazy boom like the mining boom in 2010 and the like,” he said.

And it doesn't just affect his business but all of the sub-businesses that rely on building homes, he said.

"There are so many business that don't have the work coming in... first home owners' are a very important part of the whole market,” Mr Warren said.

"All local builders are fighting for every bit of work out there.”

With the economic downturn and the Royal Commission into banking, finance was increasingly hard to get, Mr Warren said.

"If we didn't have the issues with finance being hard to get with valuations coming in lower due to the finance sector tightening up, maybe it wouldn't have been so bad,” he said.

"Another $5,000... won't bring 100 people in but it will bring in 10 or 20 and it will help builders keep going.”

Master Builders Regional Manager Dennis Bryant said the introduction of the grant made a "real difference” to first home owners getting into their homes and the cut of the grant had made a "significant difference” particularly in the regions.

"Regional Queensland is suffering pretty bad from a downturn in the industry.

"The south-east corner and the likes of Gold Coast, Toowoomba aren't feeling it as much,” he said.

"We're looking for state government to look at their half yearly budget review to bring back the $5,000 boost just to pick up the industry that little bit in the regional areas.

"Five thousand dollars is a lot to someone who is building their first home, they buy the block of land but the home itself might be $200,000 so if they can save $20,000 on their deposit.

"That is a significant amount of money.

"It might be the difference for them being able to do it and not being able to do it.”