Lower prices boost first-time buyers' confidence in owning a home

By Kay Rivera

Much has been said about Australia’s weakening home market, but the fact that first-home buyers are becoming optimistic about the former due to declining prices cannot be discounted.

Westpac’s 2018 Home Ownership Report revealed that 62% of potential first-home buyers are feeling more positive about the housing market than they were in 2017. Eighty-one percent of this group also said that they were closer to their goal of purchasing a home now than they were last year.

Polling over 1,400 owners and first-time buyers about their home ownership plans over the next five years, the study also found that 29% of first home buyers were considering buying both an investment property and a residence over the next five years.

Westpac Head of Home Ownership Lauren Fine associated the affirmative attitude towards the market with the declining values.

“This surge in confidence and positivity among first-home buyers is great to see, and not surprising considering house prices have on average dipped by 2.7% over the past year to date, primarily driven by the Sydney and Melbourne markets,” she said.

However, Fine also pointed out that there are still aspects hindering home ownership. These include not being able to save enough for a deposit and immediate costs such as stamp duty, settlement, solicitor and pest inspections fees.

The good news? The research found that while three quarters of first-home buyers are having difficulty because of the factors mentioned above, they still seem determined to enter the market.

“We’re seeing more first-home buyers find new ways to achieve their dream of home ownership, like seeking a second income or taking on extra hours at their job to help get a foot on the property ladder,” Fine said.

When asked what they would do to buy their first home, two in five first home buyers said they were willing to get another job or work overtime to get into the property market. Two-thirds were open to going out less often, and more than half were willing to go on fewer holidays to attain their dream homes.

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