While housing affordability in Western Australia has improved over the recent years, many homebuyers still struggle to afford the 20% deposit required by lenders. 

In the hopes of addressing this, the McGowan government recently announced the extension of Western Australia’s Keystart home loan scheme, adding $421m to the existing pool.

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia deputy president Lisa Joyce lauded the move and said it will help struggling home seekers access mortgage loans. Based on her estimates, she said the increase will able to produce another 1,100 mortgages.

“Due to recent financial changes to the APRA regulations and the Royal Banking Commission, lending criteria will likely tighten in 2019, making it even more difficult to enter the property market,” she said.

However, Joyce said the scheme could be made more flexible to ensure that more can access its benefits. To qualify for a Keystart home loan, single applicants in the Perth metro area must be under $90,000. For applicants in a couple, their incomes must be under $115,000. Applicants who are part of a family must have an income not exceeding $135,000.

“The WA market remains a challenging environment for many West Australians, and we would like to see the government broaden the eligibility criteria by increasing the income limit of Keystart so more people can access these loans,” Joyce said.

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