FHBs jostle with investors

First home buyers were largely pushed out of the September spring selling season as investors drove the number of home loans to a record high.

Analysis of mortgage approvals conducted over September by the Australian Finance Group found a fall in the number of approvals to first home buyers by nearly half. During September, first home buyers accounted for 8.4 per cent of new loans.

The figure normally comprises 15 per cent of all loans.

AFG general manager of operations Mark Hewitt said investors both onshore and overseas have created strong demand for Aussie properties during the previous month and as a result he is concerned about first home buyers getting a foot in the Aussie market.

“Historically, this segment has compromised around 15 per cent of all the loans we process, but in recent months this figure has fallen into single digits,” Mr Hewitt said.

“With countries like Canada making it more difficult for overseas residents to invest in property, very strong demand from investors can be expected this spring.”

The Canada-China bilateral investment treaty came into force on October 1 and provided specific obligations in how to treat foreign investors onshore.

The First Home Buyers Report released last week by listings provider realestateVIEW found affordability of local housing is playing a significant role in driving up the average age of first home buyers.

Over 35 per cent of respondents to the survey have not purchased a house because they believe prices are too high.

RealestateVIEW general manager Petra Sprekos said affordability will continue to be a long-term issue.

“The government was on the right track when it introduced stamp duty concessions for first home buyers, but the grants for buying a new home are far greater than for an established property,” Ms Sprekos said.

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