THE number of first home buyers in the nation’s housing market has hit a six-year high, with Queensland recording one of the biggest jumps in owner-occupier loans.
New home lending figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal the share of first home buyers rose from 26.8 per cent to 27.1 per cent in February.
Not including refinancing, the number of owner-occupier home loans rose the most in the Northern Territory (14.2 per cent), followed by the ACT (7.4 per cent), Tasmania (6.2 per cent) and Queensland (4.1 per cent).
Commsec chief economist Craig James said the lift in home lending in February was encouraging.
“The softer home prices are certainly bringing more first home buyers into the market,” Mr James said.
“And lower home prices give cashed-up buyers more choice if loan size doesn’t change.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to Twitter to welcome the figures, tweeting:
“New economic data shows 110,000 first home buyers in the past year.
“Over 275,000 since the last election.
“First home buyers as a share of the market up 5 percentage points since the last election. #BuildingOurEconomy”
Property Investment Professionals of Australia chairman Peter Koulizos said the figures showed federal Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions to help first home buyers get in to the market were not needed.
“The proposed changes may have the desired effect in improving housing
affordability — but at what cost?” Mr Koulizos said.
“Housing will become more affordable because house prices will drop.
“Why does the ALP want to make housing more affordable for potential first home buyers by causing residential property prices to fall all over the country?”
But Suburbanite chief executive Anna Porter said there should have been more financial stimulus in the federal budget to help first home buyers.
“They have somewhat tried to address this indirectly by focusing on a proposal of the fast trains linking major CBDs to more affordable satellite cities,” she said.
“One would imagine this will be attractive for first home buyers to get into more affordable housing where they can still access employment.
“However, this proposal to put in a fast train from Wollongong to Sydney, Geelong to Melbourne, Brisbane to Sunshine Coast and a few other regional hubs could in fact have the opposite effect and boost prices in these areas, thus further pricing out first home buyers.
“It will be a boost to those economies and in turn the real estate market, but we certainly won’t see an immediate impact of this.”