First home buyer optimism at a peak: ‘perfect time’ to join the market

By Katherine O'Chee ·

With the market ‘bottomed out’ and interest rates at a record-low, first home buyers have gotten the green light to take out a home loan and snatch up their dream property. 

Domain’s latest figures show Aussies are flocking back to Sydney and Melbourne’s housing markets, with much higher auction clearance rates - or percentages of properties sold at auction - recorded for both cities this month compared to last July. 

Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate over the weekend stood at 73% after 342 auctions and 260 confirmed results, whereas this time last year, the clearance rate was just below the 50% mark.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s weekend clearance rate led closely at 74% after 471 auctions and 364 confirmed results, up from 52% this time last year.

“Rising clearance rates, which usually have a correlation to property prices also rising, are an indication that the market overall is stronger,” Mozo’s Property Expert, Steve Jovcevski said. 

“A stronger market means first home buyers can buy property with more confidence that it’s an appreciating asset that will increase in value over time,” he added. “It gives them confidence that now is a good time to buy because they’re buying at the bottom of the market and that if they don’t buy now, they might miss out again.” 

RELATED ARTICLE: With property prices expected to 'bottom out', is now your time to buy? 

In fact, Commonwealth Bank research released earlier this month revealed a growing number of Aussies believe the dream of owning a property is more achievable than ever before, with 91% saying that it’s within reach for first home buyers. 

This is a significantly more positive response than 2018 when one in five Aussies thought property ownership was completely unattainable.  

And according to Jovcevski, the first home buyer’s optimism is well-placed. 

“Prices have become more realistic and lower,” Jovcevski said. “First home buyers can now borrow more because APRA has gotten rid of the 7% serviceability buffer, which means banks are willing to hand over a larger loan. And with the RBA’s back-to-back rate cuts, they can also lock in a great deal, as the market currently has variable rates of under 3% or really good fixed rates for 4 or 5 years.” 

“It’s actually a bit like a perfect storm for first home buyers at the moment, because all those factors are coming together to make it the perfect time for first home buyers to get into the market, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.” 

Keen to hop on board and purchase that house you’ve been eyeing for a while? Read our expert tips for first home buyers taking advantage of the market, or head over to our home loans comparison table to find a deal that suits you.

First home loans - last updated January 16, 2021

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Katherine O'Chee
Money writer

Katherine O’Chee is Mozo’s international money transfer and forex expert and business banking writer. She keeps Mozo’s readers on top of the latest news and writes in-depth features to inform and help Australians make smarter financial decisions. Her work has been published in major media outlets including Sydney Morning Herald, SBS News and Bangkok Post. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from the University of Sydney. She is also ASIC RG146 (Tier 2) certified for general advice.