Aussie first home buyers double in 2020

Two women rolling out a rug after buying and moving into their first home.

Prospective first home buyers have more than doubled in 2020, according to new research from Westpac.

The big bank found 16% of Australians are now looking to enter the property market in the next five years, compared to 7% in 2019. 

Leaving share houses or family homes has been a big motivator, with 69% of people surveyed looking to step onto the property ladder and away from shared living after the long stretch of COVID social restrictions. 

The report highlighted other influential factors including not wanting to pay rent (54%) seeking more stability (39%) and financial security (37%).

Where do first home buyers want to live?

While working remotely has become the norm for many who are in a position to do so, Westpac found there’s still strong sentiment to live in relatively close proximity to CBD’s across the country.

Those considering property in Sydney and Perth are inclined to purchase within 10km of the city centre. First home buyers bound for Adelaide or Brisbane are looking at homes up to 20km out of the CBD, while Melbournian buyers are considering purchases as far as 40km away from the city. 

Westpac’s managing director of mortgages, Anthony Hughes said an emerging younger generation of buyers is leading this trend of staying tied to metropolitan life.

“Many are weighing up areas that would enable them to maintain a certain lifestyle, like Sydney’s Inner West which is in close proximity to social hubs and nightlife, while also catering to changing needs like the ability to work from home more,” he said.

While lifestyle factors are important, average suburb prices should always be kept mind as they can change quite dramatically depending on a few kilometres distance. 

For example, the average price for a two bedroom house in the Inner West suburb of Leichhardt is $1.2 million, with one bedroom apartments going for $687,000 according to Domain data. Then in Campsie – just 7km south-west – those prices drop to $778,000 and $490,000 respectively.

RELATED: Property sentiment up as Aussies expect price lifts.

How can first home buyers reduce home loan costs?

Whether you’re looking to buy a rural property or a city apartment, there are a few handy schemes and tips which can help you save money on your first home. Look into:

  • The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. This is a government offer which lets you avoid paying lenders mortgage insurance (LMI), which is often applied to home loans if you haven’t saved up a 20% deposit. So long as you have a 5% deposit the government acts as a guarantor for the remainder. Places in this scheme are limited.
  • The First Home Owners Grants. Depending on where you live in Australia, what kind of home you’re buying and what kind of home loan you take out, you could score a lump sum payment from the government to put towards your home deposit. There are also some exemptions from paying stamp duty – which NSW plans to phase out completely.
  • The First Home Super Saver Scheme. If you’re trying to save up a juicy deposit, this scheme allows you to grow it through additional super contributions, which earn a higher rate of interest and are taxed less. You can save up to $30,000 over two financial years. It’s especially helpful for couples or people buying a home together, as they can independently accrue the $30,000 and combine funds to make the purchase. You’re required to use it for a property purchase within 12 months of withdrawing the funds.
  • Choosing the right home loan. Your home loan interest rate and features can cut your repayments by tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. So, do you research and find a top-value option that suits your needs and budget.

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* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate, loan amount and term entered. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

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