UDIA has welcomed the Minister for Housing’s announcement today that the government will extend the Keystart loan book to allow more new home buyers access to finance through the service.

“UDIA has been advocating for the expansion of the Keystart service as one aspect to addressing housing affordability issues and allowing more first home buyers to get a foot in the property market door,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“We formally put our requests for the expansion of Keystart to the government on several occasions in the last couple of years, including in our state budget submission and in person to the Minister for Housing,” Ms Steinbeck said.

Minister Tinley said today that the Keystart loan book would be extended by $420.9 million.

“As the government has advised, more than one third of all first home buyers in WA access finance through Keystart, making it an essential tool for getting more people into home ownership who otherwise may struggle to access finance through other institutions such as private lenders,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Despite the current property market downturn in WA, first home buyers have continued to be active in the market with recent figures highlighting that first home buyers made up 25% of the total finance commitments for housing in WA in 2017-18,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“This is well above the national proportion of 14% and represents the significant role that this market segment can play in the property market recovery in WA,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Supporting first home buyers and making housing more accessible is critical for the future growth of the state,” Ms Steinbeck said.

The Premier’s announcement regarding the extension comes before the Mid-Year Review of Keystart that is due later this month.

“UDIA hopes that the review will also consider expanding the eligibility criteria associated with accessing Keystart loans so that more people can benefit from the service given the constraints on lending capacity on private institutions,” Ms Steinbeck said.