Confidence among home buyers has declined for the first time since March 2014, new research has revealed.
The 12th edition of Genworth’s Streets Ahead report found that overall home buyer confidence fell from 99.6 index points to 98.2 index points over the six months to March 2016.
Genworth said the decrease was mainly driven by an 11 per cent rise in the proportion of home owners who have experienced mortgage stress, a 13 per cent increase in the proportion of home owners who expect mortgage stress and a 13 per cent drop in the number of respondents who believe now is a good time to buy a home.
“The proportion of those who believe it is a good time to buy a home has fallen to 42 per cent from 48 per cent six months ago,” Bridget Sakr, Genworth’s chief commercial officer, said.
“This sentiment is even more pronounced amongst investors, with those who believe it is a good time to invest in property falling by 18 per cent to 36 per cent in the same period.
Ms Sakr said media-fuelled speculation of a housing bubble, an upcoming federal election, proposed changes to negative gearing policy and recent changes in lenders’ policy relating to investment loans are some of the likely drivers of this change in consumer confidence.
Genworth also noted that higher property prices in Sydney and Melbourne also continue to negatively impact confidence.
In New South Wales, 37 per cent believe it is a good time to buy a home compared to the national average of 42 per cent, and in Victoria, 33 per cent believe it is a good time to buy an investment property compared to the national average of 36 per cent, according to the report.
[Related: Investors moving towards commercial property]