Qld FHBs eyeing off-the-plan purchases

An increasing number of first homebuyers in Queensland are buying off-the-plan homes, according to new data.

Mortgage Choice’s annual first homebuyer survey reveals that 5.8 per cent of first homeowners chose to buy a property off the plan – up from just 2.4 per cent in 2012.

“Interestingly, a further 16.5 per cent of first homebuyers bought a newly built property in 2016, while 4.9 per cent said they purchased a piece of land in order to build a home of their own,” Mortgage Choice’s Queensland state manager Debbie Chambers says.

“In total, 27.2 per cent of first homebuyers purchased either a new home or land to build on – up from 18.4 per cent in 2012.

“Given the amount of construction that has been taking place across the state, the growth in demand for newly built homes can hardly be considered surprising.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics stats show building approvals for units rose 83.4 per cent between 2012 and 2016.

Chambers said first homebuyers were undoubtedly also encouraged to consider newly built and off-the-plan homes because of changes to the first homebuyer grant.

“In 2013, the Queensland state government removed first homebuyer grants for established dwellings. Today, only those buying new homes are entitled to a grant of up to $20,000,” she says.

Meanwhile, the monthly Housing Industry Association (HIA) survey of Australia’s largest volume builders reveals that total seasonally-adjusted new home sales increased in September 2016, the second consecutive month of growth.

“During September, HIA’s new home sales grew by 3.8 per cent, a further increase on the 2.9 per cent rate of growth over the previous month,” HIA senior economist Shane Garrett says.

“Within the month, growth was driven by detached house sales, which rose by 3.8 per cent, while sales of units eased back by 0.8 per cent over the same period.

“However, the mix of available indictors suggests that new home building activity has now passed its peak and that the 2015/16 financial year will not be matched in terms of new dwelling starts.

“This is particularly the case for multi-residential sales, which have eased by 6.2 per cent during the September 2016 quarter compared with the same period a year earlier,” he concludes.

In the month of September 2016, detached house sales fell in four out of the five states covered by the report, an exact reversal of the situation in August. During September 2016, the largest fall in sales was recorded in South Australia (-23.0 per cent), followed by Western Australia (-17.2 per cent), New South Wales (-12.9 per cent) and Queensland (-2.6 per cent). Victoria was the only state to record an increase in new home sales over this period, with 14.0 per cent growth in sales over the past year.

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