First home buyers 'dramatically lower' than long-term average

by Calida Smylie14 May 2014
The proportion of first home buyers increased marginally in March compared to the month before, but is still far lower than the long-run average, the latest data from Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.
Yesterday the ABS released its property price index, which registered a 1.7% rise in detached houses and units values nationally over the March quarter and a 10.9% gain over the year.
The growth in property values was driven by Sydney – as expected – where prices rose by 2.3% over the quarter and by 15.7% over the year.
At the other end of the scale was Canberra, whose prices inched up just 1.1% over the year.
"The rise in prices has contributed to a rise in the total value of residential dwellings to $5.1 trillion in the March quarter 2014. The average value of Australia's 9.3 million residential dwellings was $546,500," said ABS residential property price index director Robin Ashburn. 
The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) says the latest housing finance figures released by ABS reflect a steadying market.
“The March 2014 lending figures indicate a stabilising market, which together with a Budget [announced last night] which is expected to cut Government spending, signal a period in which interest rates should stay low,” said president Peter Bushby.
The figures show the proportion of first home buyers in the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments increased marginally to 12.6% – equating to $24 million – compared to 12.5% in February and the low point of 12.3% in November last year.
But this is not good enough, Bushby said.
“This is still dramatically lower than the long-run average proportion of 19.9% and continues to be of concern.”