Australia’s central bank has said foreigners are not pricing first home buyers out of the market – but another official body is unsure.
A recent report from the Reserve Bank of Australia dismissed fears that rising numbers of investors are distorting the first home buyer market.
However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics told the federal Inquiry into Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate that it is unclear to what extent overseas buyers influence prices, according to ABC reports.
Assistant statistician Paul Mahoney said the bureau’s information is “quite patchy, to say the best".
"We do scan press reports and real estate specialist magazines to try to identify purchases… But I'd have to say that is a bit hit and miss,” he said.
Mr Mahoney also told the inquiry that the bureau’s estimates are very conservative.
“In other words, he agreed that the true value of foreign investment going toward Australian homes is likely to be higher than the ABS's poorly-informed estimates suggest,” the ABC reported.
Private sector forecasters including RP Data will appear before the inquiry today.
Last month, leading network LJ Hooker said Australia’s housing market needs more foreign investment, while a new study the same month showed that there’s little evidence that Chinese buyers pay more than other buyers for real estate here.