First-time buyers 'are playing the waiting game'

Owning a property has always been seen as part of the Australian dream, but for a lot of people buying a house has turned into a nightmare.

Before the global financial crisis kicked in, Aussies were snapping up new houses, flats and apartments left, right and centre, but things have now changed.

Although the nation's property sector is steady when compared to a number of countries, it is still a long way short of the thriving market seen prior to the 2008 downturn.

According to the RAMS First Home Buyers' Pulse Check Survey 2012, first-time buyers are being far more cautious when looking for a new home this year, the Australian Associated Press reports.

In the past, Aussies were more than willing to rush into the signing of a mortgage agreement and more often than not only had a deposit of around five per cent.

Now – the study showed – people are taking far longer to save up more money towards a much larger deposit, which enables them to lower the terms of their monthly home loan repayments.

RAMS head of brand and marketing Chris Thornton told the news provider that house hunters are far more serious about saving these days.

"I think a general sense of uncertainty means that people are saving more and borrowing less," he remarked.

"In the past, people have really squeezed themselves to get over the line, but now, they're just being a bit more cautious," Mr Thornton added.

A lot of savvy Aussies are living with their parents for longer, while at the same time pouring money into high-interest savings accounts.

This increasingly sensible attitude towards home ownership was highlighted in a separate study conducted by RAMS, which indicated that 77 per cent of respondents saw "good value" as the most important factor when selecting a new place to live.

The research also suggested that many first-time buyers are saving 50 per cent or more of their gross income in order to boost their chances of securing a home loan.

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