Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows a rebound in owner occupier first home buyer housing finance commitments.
In August, 10,227 owner occupier first home buyer finance commitments were recorded and represented the greatest number since December 2009 – this is 17.2% of all owner occupier housing finance commitments and the highest proportion since July 2013.
The changes, effective from 1 July, mean that first home buyers purchasing properties below $650,000 in NSW and below $600,000 in Vic do not have to pay stamp duty.
In NSW stamp duty concessions are available up to a purchase price of $800,000 for first home buyers and in Vic concessions are available up to a purchase price of $750,000.
Between June and August, the number of owner occupier first home buyer housing finance commitments has increased by 59% in NSW and 34% in Vic.
This data highlights that stamp duty is one of the key barriers for first home buyers wanting to participate in the housing market, at least in NSW and Vic.
Outside of NSW and Vic, first home buyers generally represent larger proportions of the owner occupier segment.
The following sections look at first home buyer activity across the states and territories to August 2017:
• NSW – 2,426 first home buyer commitments in August represented the greatest monthly number since January 2012.
First home buyers accounted for 12.9% of owner occupier commitments over the month which was the highest proportion since October 2012 and up from a recent low of 7.5% in February 2017;
• Vic – 3,162 first home buyer first home buyer commitments in Vic accounting for 18.3% of all owner occupier commitments.
The 3,162 commitments was the greatest number since December 2009 and the 18.3% was the highest proportion since August 2013;
• Qld – the number of first home buyer finance commitments in August 2017 (2,190) was higher than the previous month but lower than the number in June.
The number of commitments in August was 17.9% higher than its long-term average.
Over the month, first home buyers accounted for 19.4% of all owner occupier finance commitments, down from 20.1% in July;
• SA – 490 first home buyer finance commitments – higher over the month but -17.7% lower than the state’s long-term average.
First home buyers accounted for 12.7% of all housing finance commitments.
The proportion of first home buyers has not been above 13% since August 2014 despite South Australia being the state with the nation’s second most affordable housing market (behind Tasmania).
• WA – 1,589 first home buyer commitments which accounted for 26.2% of all owner occupier housing finance commitments.
The 1,589 first home buyer commitments was the greatest number since June 2015 and was 17.7% higher than the long-term average.
The 26.2% of all owner occupier commitments going to first home buyers was slightly lower over the month but was the highest proportion of first home buyers amongst the states and territories
• Tas – 129 first home buyer finance commitments in Tas in August 2017 which was -22.3% lower than the state’s longterm average.
First home buyers accounted for 12.3% of total owner occupier housing finance commitments for the state which was the lowest proportion of all states and territories.
Although the level of first home buyer activity is low, as a proportion it has increased over each of the past two months.
• NT – 60 first home buyer finance commitments which accounted for 20.5% of total owner occupier housing finance commitments over the month.
The 60 commitments over the month was -28.6% lower than the long-term average of 84 commitments a month.
With first home buyers accounting for 20.5% of all owner occupier commitments, their levels of participation is the second highest of all states and territories.
• ACT – 231 first home buyer finance commitments in August which was 47.7% higher than the long-term average.
First home buyers in the ACT accounted for 19.3% of all owner occupier housing finance commitments which was slightly lower of the month.
The upswing in first home buyer activity in NSW and Vic seems due to the removal of the impost of stamp duty when buying beneath certain price points.
First home buyer activity has also increased of late in WA and NT, two markets where values have been falling for some time which could be creating opportunities for first time buyers previously unable to enter the market.
Qld and the ACT have also seen upticks in first home buyer demand of late which is occurring at the same time as moderately rising prices.
First home buyer activity is expected to continue to increase, driven by NSW and Vic where buyers are taking advantage of the concessions to enter into the market.
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