PM Drowned Out During Ill-Timed Housing Announcement
He was out promoting a first homebuyers plan, but an ill-timed burst of building noise ironically interrupted the Prime Minister’s press conference.
Scott Morrison also said it was “difficult to say” whether property prices would be affected by his new first home buyers policy.
Morrison started the final week of the campaign in the battleground seat of Lindsay, near Penrith. In a new housing estate in the suburb of Caddens, the western Sydney winter warmth bearing down on the aptly-named Sunburst Drive, the PM took a tour of a property under construction and spoke to some young homeowners.
Monday was his birthday, and while most would not pick a construction site as the venue for their celebration -- and despite another Newspoll showing Labor remains in an election-winning lead -- he looked happy exactly where he was.
Calling home ownership “the dream”, and pointing towards the suburb of new homes which he called “the field of dreams”, Morrison further explained his party’s new commitment.
In a surprise Sunday announcement, the Liberals outlined a plan for the government to essentially act as a guarantor on some home loans, letting people secure a property with just a five percent deposit rather than the usual 20, and waiving Lenders Mortgage Insurance. This would only be available to single people earning below $125,000 or couples below a combined $200,000.
Some have raised fears that the plan, quickly matched by Labor after being initially derided by some, could raise home prices by putting more people into the market. It could also lock people into longer-than-usual-term loans that are difficult to repay.
Morrison just days ago criticised Labor leader Bill Shorten, claiming that any subsidy would lead to price increases. But on Monday, he denied his home plan was a subsidy, but that the government was simply helping temporarily offset deposit costs.
At least, he tried to. It was hard to hear him over the droning, groaning noise of a cement truck -- ironically, pouring a foundation slab for a new home -- just over the fence in the next backyard.
“It’s great to see that pour underway,” Morrison joked.
“When you look around here you see dreams being built literally right next to us here. It looks like they may lay that slab today and that will be another family being excited about their new home taking shape.”
When asked if the party had any economic modelling regarding whether the policy might raise house prices, by putting more buyers into the market, he said it was “difficult to say”.
But Morrison added that he wanted to see more people to be able to buy homes, as well as not wanting to see prices go down.
Labor has committed to matching the policy, so it seems all but certain to become a feature of Australia’s property market after May 18.
Morrison claimed that the idea, in concert with the first home super saver scheme — which allows homebuyers to place funds into, collect interest, and then withdraw from, their superannuation for a property deposit — was a “winning combination”.
“Those mortgage brokers, working on behalf of families all around the country trying to get the best possible deal, will get an even better deal for their clients when they know there is more competition,” Morrison claimed.
Earlier, the PM had marvelled at the western Sydney economy. He told the young homeowners that the planned airport in the area would “make a massive difference”, calling it the “biggest thing I’ve seen in my time in Sydney”, and praising the area as “building an economy of its own.”
Morrison is planning a long day, with a visit to Perth said to be on the cards.
Josh Butler is travelling with the Morrison campaign
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