More than 10,000 people have bought their first home in regional parts of the country in the past year, as part of a government scheme.

The regional first home buyer guarantee allows people buying their first house to pay just a five per cent deposit, with the federal government providing a further 15 per cent as a guarantee.

New data has revealed since the scheme was set up last October, 10,863 people have taken up the offer to buy their first home outside major cities.

Those buying a home in Townsville were the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme, with 716 properties bought in the area as part of the guarantee.

It was followed by the NSW Hunter Valley with 640, Central Queensland with 571, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in NSW with 569, with the Gold Coast in Queensland rounding out the top five regional areas with 568.

Housing Minister Julie Collins said the scheme had allowed people living in regional areas to buy their first home faster.

“When we were elected, we knew Australians living in regional areas were facing housing affordability challenges, making it hard for locals to save a sufficient deposit,” she said.

“That’s why we brought this targeted support forward three months, to assist more regional Australians into home ownership sooner.”

In order to qualify for the scheme, people had to demonstrate they had been living in the region they wanted to buy in for at least one year.

Eligibility was expanded in July to allow for friends, siblings or other family members to make joint applications for the guarantee.

Queenslanders have been the making the most of the smaller housing deposits with 4057 guarantees in the state, followed by NSW with 3736 and Victoria with 2007.

Source: AAP