HALIFAX - Nova Scotia is doubling a rebate for first-time homebuyers to $3,000.

The rebate, a measure included in Tuesday's spring budget, is available to buyers purchasing newly constructed homes and about 1,000 families may be eligible, the provincial government said Wednesday.

Premier Darrell Dexter said the increase will help make home ownership more affordable and is aimed as an incentive for the construction sector.

"We want to make sure that we are encouraging an industry that provides good jobs to people in the province," said Dexter.

Dexter said the time is right to boost a rebate that hasn't been altered since it was introduced in 1997 because the government is on track to balance its books next year.

The incentive is part of a series of measures contained in Tuesday's budget aimed at giving some tax relief to Nova Scotians.

The government will spend about $1.5 million on the increase, which took effect April 1.