The latest housing finance figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed the number of first home buyers is at a record low despite total lending for housing growing steadily in response to interest rate cuts and the positive housing outlook for much of the country.
Housing finance figures for November 2013 showed, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments rose by 0.6 per cent, following increases of 0.8 per cent in October and September. This is the lowest monthly increase, in trend terms, since January 2013.
If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for November, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.7 per cent.
REIA president Peter Bushby said, “Increases were recorded in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia, with Tasmania having the biggest rise, up 2.4 per cent. The Australian Capital Territory’s fall of 1.4 per cent was the country’s largest.
“In trend terms, the number of commitments for the construction of new dwellings climbed 1.1 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings went up 0.7 per cent. However, the purchase of new dwellings fell by 0.6 per cent.”
The value of investment housing commitments continued to increase, with a rise of three per cent in November, in trend terms, resulting in well over two years of consecutive monthly increases.
“The proportion of first home buyers in the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments fell to 12.3 per cent compared to the October figure of 12.6 per cent, and is the lowest figure since data began to be collected in July 1991. It is far lower than the long-run average proportion of 19.9 per cent, despite eight interest rate cuts since November 2011," said Mr Bushby.
“With the number of first home buyers at historically low levels, it’s time for all governments to review support for first home buyers.”