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NT Labor spruiks first home-owners' grant

AAP logoAAP 23/08/2016 Neda Vanovac

Territorians looking to buy an existing property as their first home will be eligible for a $24,000 grant from September 1 if Labor wins Saturday's election, Labor promises.

Opposition Leader Michael Gunner on Tuesday said the grant would apply to properties worth up to $650,000, while people buying a newly constructed home would still be eligible for a $26,000 grant.

Buyers of existing homes would be eligible for $10,000 grants for renovations, and all first-home buyers would be able to access $2000 to buy furniture or whitegoods from NT retailers.

"We have seen a drop-off in Territorians buying their first home, we have to fix that; we've seen 8500 Territorians over the last three years leave the Territory, we have to reverse that trend," Mr Gunner told reporters.

"Obviously if you own a little bit of the Territory, you are much more likely to stay."

The policy aims to stimulate the local economy, which has been contracting with the wind-down of the $40 billion Japanese-led Inpex LNG project.

It reverses and doubles the Country Liberals government's $12,000 grant for first-time buyers of existing homes, which was scrapped 18 months ago.

"The Darwin market since 2015 has gradually been slowing down, turnover-wise and prices as well," said Simon Watts, sales agent at Real Estate Central.

He said some people were selling properties for 40 per cent of what they paid for them, and said last month there were 234 transactions in the NT, compared to 350-400 around the same time last year.

"We put it down to the first homeowner grant no longer being available; it obviously affects second-home buyers, third-home buyers and so on as they go across the market," Mr Watts said.

Rachel Howells, 24, said the grant would make it much easier for her to break into the housing market and said the slowdown had "helped a lot".

"It means I can afford a lot more, it's helped with my borrowing capacity."

But she is waiting to see the outcome of Saturday's election before she makes any decisions, she said.

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