Lender helped many SA first-home buyers enter the market

Adelaide-based HomeStart Finance helped one in six South Australian first-home buyers secure a property last financial year. 

The SA government lender’s annual report, tabled in state parliament last week, showed it had approved 1,674 home loans, worth a total of $432m, over the past financial year. This is roughly a 5% increase on the 1,599 home loans worth $393m approved during the 2015-16 financial year.

Jim Kouts, chairman of HomeStart Finance, said the results demonstrate the important role HomeStart played in helping more South Australians achieve homeownership.

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“One in six first home buyers in SA purchased a home through HomeStart in the last 12 months,” Kouts told news.com.au. 

The average loan size was $257,321, up 3.4% from last year.

Greg Troughton, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA), welcomed the announcement, but said more should be done to ensure that first homeownership continued to be affordable well into the future. 

“Ultimately we would like to see stamp duty removed for any first homebuyer up to the median metro house price,” he said. “The greatest gift a government can provide is the ability for someone to get into their own home, and more particularly so, their first home. The ability to provide competitive finance for those first homebuyers is also very important.”

Troughton said many first-home buyers have a clear preference when it comes to location and style of housing.

“North and south are the favourite areas but that’s more to do with affordability of those areas,” he said, “It’s definitely the dream home they are after as a preference but often the apartment is the preliminary stepping stone. Apartment living is certainly becoming a favourite of South Australian residents and we are becoming more like the eastern states in that regard.”