First home buyers becoming investors

Melissa Jenkins
(Australian Associated Press)

Young people who once would been saving for their first home might be refashioning themselves as property investors.

The number of successful auctions across Australia bounced back last week, with clearance rates almost five per cent higher than at the same time last year, according to the latest figures from analytics firm CoreLogic.

But the share of loans to first home buyers was falling in December, according to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The number of loans to people buying their first home fell 7.1 per cent in December, with the average loan size for first-home buyers falling by $4,600 to $319,300.

Loans to investors were also down one per cent for December but CBA economist Kristina Clifton says the decline followed three consecutive monthly increases.

The share of loans to first home buyers has been on a downward trend for around five years, she says.

CBA Economics forecasts housing prices will rise around five per cent nationally in 2017.

Ms Clifton says some people who would have traditionally been saving up to buy their first home are instead staying at home with their parents, rent-free, so they can save up and buy investment properties.

“Prices have risen strongly but wages growth has been weak so therefore it’s more and more difficult for people to save up that initial deposit and get into the property market,” she said.

“Also we think that first buyers are becoming investors instead.

“We think that’s probably part of the reason why first home buyers look to have fallen and investors have been so strong.”

In the week ending February 12, some 1,564 properties went under the hammer across Australia’s capital cities, compared with 881 the previous week, the CoreLogic analysis indicates, with clearance rates at 76.6 per cent and 68.7 per cent respectively.

The number of homes auctioned rose in every capital city except for Adelaide.

Meanwhile, the average house price across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth is 10.9 per cent higher than compared with the same time in 2016.

Prices in Sydney continue to charge ahead, rising 16.9 per cent in the last year and 2.4 per cent over the last month. The average price of a Sydney house is $786, 844 or $675,000 for a unit.

Melbourne has also seen strong growth with the average value of homes climbing 11.4 per cent in the last 12 months. Home buyers can expect to pay an average of $565,000 for a house or $450,00 for a unit.

Perth is the only capital city where average home prices have dropped in the last 12 months, with a 2.9 per cent decline.

CAPITAL CITY MEDIAN HOUSING PRICES

HOUSES

Sydney – $786,844

Canberra – $587,750

Darwin – $566,250

Melbourne – $565,000

Brisbane – $515, 000

Perth – $515,000

Adelaide – $440,000

Hobart – $350,000

UNITS

Sydney – $675,000

Melbourne – $450,000

Perth – $429,000

Canberra $410,000

Brisbane – $388,000

Darwin – $365,000

Adelaide – $310,000

Hobart – $313,000

* Capital city private treaty sales, representing about 85 per cent of all dwelling sales across Australia. Data from CoreLogic Property Market Indicator Summary week ending February 12, 2017.

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