First home buyers still missing in action

Adam Smith 12 October 2016

question mark peopleFirst home buyer participation is in a “downward spiral”, according to new figures.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) housing finance figures show the eighth consecutive month of declines for owner-occupied housing finance. Owner-occupied commitments fell 1.3% in August, with decreases in every state except Tasmania.

One bright spot in the figures was lending for new home building, Housing Industry Association (HIA) economist Geordan Murray said. The number of loans for construction was up 3.7% in August, but remained 1.7% lower than a year ago.

“It is pleasing to see lending in the new home market holding up in an environment where we are seeing the number of loans to home buyers easing across the housing market more broadly,” Murray said.

But Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Neville Sanders said recent revisions to ABS first home buyer pictures painted a grim picture. The revised figures showed first-time buyers accounted for only 13.4% of the market.

“It is extremely disappointing that the revised figures show fewer first home buyers since 2012 than previously reported. The monthly average for the last twelve is 12.9% compared to 20.9% for the corresponding period two decades ago. This is a fall of nearly 40% and appears to be a downward spiral,” Sanders said.

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