First timers teaming up amid calls for better affordability

More than six out of 10 Australian first homebuyers (66 per cent) have joined forces with their partner, family or friend to purchase their first property, according to new research by St.George Bank.

The survey of 1,003 first homebuyers revealed that 74 per cent of respondents have found the property they wanted and those who didn’t had to compromise on the location (50 per cent), price (46 per cent) and overall space and size (45 per cent).

Evaluating which properties provide good value was ranked the most difficult process for first timers (57 per cent), followed by choosing a suburb (47 per cent) and working out affordability (42 per cent).

St.George Retail Banking general manager Ross Miller says the results show that first homebuyers are adapting to new ways to achieve the great Australian dream of buying a home.

“Two incomes are better than one so it seems logical for buyers to team up with others if affordability’s an issue,” he says.

“By purchasing with your partner, family or friend, you can make buying a house a lot more affordable and share the costs, including stamp duty and valuation fees.”

The research indicates that 76 per cent of respondents took six months or less to find a home compared to 8 per cent for whom it took more than 12 months.

Forty two per cent of respondents plan to live in their property for as long as they can compared to 5 per cent who plan to live it for just one or two years, while 60 per cent funded the majority of their deposit through a dedicated savings plan. The top saving strategies used were: being frugal with household expenses (60 per cent), cutting back on eating out/entertainment/shopping and holidays (55 per cent), and living with family (29 per cent).

In other research, conducted for housing lender ME, results have revealed high support among Aussies for action on housing affordability, including among property investors.

The survey of 1,500 households took place in December 2015 and results were compared with an earlier survey in June 2015.

Of households canvassed in the December survey, 76 per cent agreed the federal government should be taking action to make housing more affordable for first homebuyers, an increase of three points from the June 2015 survey.

Support for action was broadly based across all states and generations as well as by those looking to buy property in the next 12 months (81 per cent) and property investors (70 per cent).

In terms of actions to fix affordability, more than three quarters agreed the government should encourage more new developments of lower priced housing, and 61 per cent agreed the government should reform the tax system to provide less support to investment property buyers, including, perhaps surprisingly, 42 per cent of property investors.

More households on lower incomes than on higher incomes supported winding back tax concessions for property investors: 63 per cent of those earning $40,001 to $75,000 supported the idea, compared to 59 per cent of those earning $75,001 to $100,000 and 59 per cent of those earning over $100,000.

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