May housing finance figures show first home buyers were “edging closer towards endangered species status,” according to Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) acting president, Pamela Bennett.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) housing finance numbers for May 2011 show first home buyers made up 15.4 per cent of total owner occupied housing commitments, well down on the long-run average of 20.1 per cent and the 28.5 per cent level recorded in April 2009, the REIA said.
“The continuing low levels of finance commitments to first home buyers is a concern,” Ms Bennett said. “First home buyers have been hit the hardest by the effect of interest rate rises. And with the impact on building costs of the just announced carbon tax expected to fall disproportionately on first home buyers, as the REIA continues to highlight, this group of buyers is edging closer towards endangered species status.”
The number of finance commitments increased by a marginal 0.1 per cent in May following six consecutive months of falls.
“In trend terms, modest increases were recorded in Western Australia and Victoria, with all other states and territories showing decreases, ranging from 0.3 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory to 0.8 per cent in the Northern Territory,” said Ms Bennett.
She also pointed to weaker investment housing commitments, which was 0.4 per cent weaker in trend terms, the thirteenth month of consecutive falls in this area.