First home buyers are extremely optimistic about their property prospects despite the pandemic, with many aspiring to use the downturn to their advantage.
According to the latest quarterly property sentiment report from ME, young first home buyers are looking far and wide for COVID-19 bargains.
More than 80 per cent of them (82 per cent) have agreed they hope to see bargain properties coming on to the market if the economy worsens, with more than half of first home buyers expressing an intention to jump on to the property ladder within the next 12 months.
Just 66 per cent of investors are hopeful of the same outcome.
For Andrew Bartolo, ME’s general manager home loans, first home buyers are “looking to find a silver lining in the current economic climate”.
He acknowledged a greater potential for property price falls, record-low interest rates and the abundance of government support, including the new HomeBuilder grants.
“Of course, this will be more realistic for those whose employment and income haven’t been affected as a result of the pandemic.”
The COVID-19-spurred crisis has also opened up the potential for many of these potential purchasers to relocate regionally.
Two-thirds of would-be buyers (60 per cent) indicated they would be more likely to consider buying in a regional area during COVID-19, both to save money and improve their lifestyle.
“New remote and flexible working arrangements brought in to accommodate for COVID-19 have clearly influenced Australians’ sentiment towards buying in regional areas,” Mr Bartolo said.
“It’s now a more feasible option for many, and if prices are lower in those areas and you think it will improve your lifestyle — of course, it’s an attractive possibility!
“I think many Australians dream about moving to a regional area at some stage during their life, so it will be interesting to see how many do actually decide to pursue a sea or tree change, perhaps earlier than expected.”
In addition, more than half (52 per cent) of first home buyers have expressed an interest in using government support to accelerate their property ownership dreams.
Commenting on the strong interest from the demographic, Mr Bartolo said: “Hopefully, the HomeBuilder grant will help more younger Australians get their foot in the door and increase buying activity in the wider market as a result.”