The number of first time buyers in Australia increased again in June, reaching its highest level since 2012, according to official figures.
The data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been welcomed as there have been concerns that homes were becoming unaffordable for many aspiring home owners.
The figures show that first time buyers accounted for 18.1% of home loans in June 2018 and over the last 12 months numbers have increase by 11.4%.
According to Shane Garrett, senior economist at the Housing Industry Association (HIA), there are several reasons behind the welcome trend. He pointed out that several state governments, including New South Wales and Victoria, have enhanced their incentives for first time buyers.
‘In recent years, record numbers of newly built apartments have also come on stream. In terms of design and price point, many of these are particularly suited to first home buyers and have made the purchase of their first home possible,’ he said.
‘On balance, the slowdown in dwelling price growth over the past year and ongoing low interest rates have also been favourable for those seeking to access the market for the first time,’ he added.
The figures also show that in contrast, the value of housing investor loans hit a five year low during June and has declined by 22.4% since its peak at the beginning of last year.
‘Investment participation in the housing market plays a key role in delivering new housing supply and is vital to the healthy functioning of rental markets right around Australia,’ said Garrett.
‘Recent policy and regulatory changes have made it more difficult for investors to participate in the housing market. With our population hitting 25 million, any obstacles to housing supply must be avoided so that the industry can meet our future housing needs,’ he concluded.