Despite interest rate rises and affordability issues, first homebuyers are still looking to realise the great Australian dream of home ownership, according to research commissioned by mortgage insurer Genworth Financial.
Conducted by Datamonitor, the Financial Mortgage Trends Report surveyed over 2,000 Australians - and 69% owned property. Nearly half of those surveyed who did not own property said they would also like a slice of the ownership action.
Despite this high national level of home ownership, those who were keen to break into the market were facing significant difficulty in doing so - just 17% of those who intended to buy property in the next 12 months expected that they could afford it.
"First homebuyers want to enter the market but they are struggling," said Peter Hall, managing director, Genworth Financial Australia and New Zealand. "The inability of non-property owners to save a deposit is still the most significant hindrance to getting into the property market."
Despite the success of the first homebuyers' grant, the proportion of first homebuyers entering the market appears to have plateaued in recent years. According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, first homebuyers as a proportion of all homeowners taking out mortgages has grown by just 3% to 17% since 2003.
This figure pales in comparison to the 1990s, when between 20-25% of all housing loans for owner-occupied properties went to first homebuyers. The prime reasons cited by those who did not yet own property were difficulties in saving a deposit (25%) and 18% said it was because they did not believe they could afford mortgage repayments.
The report also found that Western Australia boasts the highest level of home ownership, with 74% owning property, having edged up 5% from 2005 levels.