To build or not to build? Photo: Rob Homer
THE ACT is at significant risk of losing scores of home buyers over the border to surrounding areas because incentives and grants have failed to keep pace with NSW, according to a peak housing body.
New first home buyer concessions were introduced in NSW last month, boosting grants to $15,000 each - more than double the value of those available in the capital.
Coupled with land packages from developments such as Googong, the grants make an interstate move ''pretty attractive'', Housing Industry Association ACT and Southern NSW executive director Neil Evans said.
''Not only are the prices more affordable, but they're getting government incentives,'' he said.
''If the ACT government doesn't do a little bit more to assist in delivering affordable house and land packages, we will see more people go over the border.''
Land purchases of up to $350,000 are also exempt from stamp duty in NSW, one of the factors driving more than $55 million worth of sales at Googong.
More than 200 lots have been sold over the past seven months, project director Mark Attiwill said.
The average lot price at Googong is $244,000, less than a variety of blocks available within the ACT.
Member for Monaro John Barilaro said people after a second or third home could also apply for a New Home Grant, with $5000 available for non-first home buyers of new properties.
''With current land releases at Googong and future releases at Tralee, it makes sense for ACT and Queanbeyan residents to purchase land and build their home in NSW,'' he said.
The first home buyer grants are more than double the value of those available in the capital. However, the NSW scheme is designed to boost housing construction and is only available for people buying new homes valued at less than $650,000.
First home buyers within the ACT can access grants of $7000 for established and new homes, which Economic Development Minister Andrew Barr said would have access to existing infrastructure and lower utility rates.
He said looking at grants and home prices on each side of the border was ''not comparing apples with apples''.
''Blocks sold in the ACT are close to existing iznfrastructure,'' Mr Barr said.
''Wright and Weston, for example are only seven kilometres from Civic, while land sold in Macgregor is part of an established suburb with a school and shops. Googong is miles from anywhere.''
While Googong prices are below the average house block at Wright, Weston, Forde, and Casey - based on sales settled in the six months up to June 2012 - they are more expensive than some Canberra examples.
Average blocks at Harrison Four, Crace, Macgregor and Bonner are all priced below $244,000, the latter averaging at $230,676.
Buyers within the capital also have access to stamp duty concession and deferral schemes, as well as land rent.