Give first home buyers more help, Westpac exec pleads

Adam Smith 14 August 2017

broken bank1About 75% of Westpac first home buyer customers are relying on their parents to help pay their deposit, a bank executive has said.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Westpac head of consumer banking George Frazis has said 75% of the bank’s first-time buyer customers use products that allow their parents to offer their home as security to cover some or all of the required deposit. Frazis said lenders need to do more to help potential first home buyers get into the housing market.

“This is not about prices going down. This is about ensuring that those who find it difficult to raise a deposit have avenues into getting into home ownership,” he said.

Frazis argued that many younger Australians were capable of servicing home loans, but found it too difficult to raise the money for a deposit.

“This is not an issue of not being able to afford a house once you have got it, but this is about being able to afford a deposit. There are restrictions around that and as prices went up and up, you had to save more. That impacted younger Australians,” Frazis told the AFR.

Frazis told the AFR he had been “obsessed” with the issue of housing affordability for many years. He is working with the Greater Sydney Commission on ways to address affordability.

“Home ownership is important for many reasons. It makes for better societies, communities are better off [and] it equalises wealth. Young people who get a home do end up saving more,” he said.

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