A federal government home buyer assistance scheme will push up property prices and have little, if any, impact on home ownership rates, a leading Tasmanian economist says. Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins has tabled the government's Help to Buy bill for Housing Australia to provide an equity contribution to a prospective homeowner of up to 30 per cent on the purchase price of an exiting home or 40 per cent for a new home. Ms Collins said participants would only need a minimum two per cent deposit. She said through the equity contribution, the applicant would benefit from lower ongoing mortgage repayments through having a smaller home loan. The program is open to 40,000 participants. Tasmanian economist Saul Eslake said while the scheme would help people into home ownership, they would pay more for homes than they otherwise would. He said the impact on property prices would be less than that from generous home ownership grants due to the program's limited places. Mr Eslake said unlike home ownership grants, the government - and the taxpayer - will get a return from the equity contribution and perhaps even a profit. "Presumably, in most cases, the value of the house that people who qualify for this scheme and use it will go up over time when they sell it," he said. Mr Eslake doubted the scheme would have much of an impact on home ownership rates across the country, if any. "It will probably have a bigger impact on prices than it will on the home ownership rate," he said. The Grattan Institute's 2022 report, The Great Australian Nightmare, showed that between 1981 and 2021, home ownership rates for 25 to 34 year olds fell from 57 per cent to 28 per cent. For 45 to 54 year olds, home ownership rates declined from 71 per cent to 53 per cent.