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Flawed data skews home buyer perception

by Steven Cross10 minute read

Questionable data and extensive media coverage of a decline in first home buyers has given Australians an inaccurate view of the sector, claim a number of industry stakeholders.

 John Edwards, founder of property market analysts Residex, claims the spotlight is in the wrong place.

“There has potentially been too much media focus on the growth in dwelling prices and not enough focus on the individual market segments,” he said in his latest blog.

Mr Edwards said this may have created some misunderstandings about market activity, one being the supposed lack of first home buyers.


“The rental outcome suggests that there is a potential oversupply of unit stock in most markets, which is likely to be correct as this is where the majority of development activity is taking place.

“However, it also indicates that there is first home owner activity in the unit market. Tenants are taking advantage of lower interest rates and lower price growth rates and moving into home ownership via unit purchases,” he said.

The claims come amid a plethora of data and figures suggesting first home buyers are at all-time lows, which director at wHere Group Todd Hunter refuted in his own blog last month.

“It’s being bantered all over the press everywhere, the property market has outpriced first home buyers and they have magically disappeared … I personally would like to know who came up with this data and where it came from,” he said.

“I do agree, however, that it is becoming increasingly more difficult [for] first home owners to get into the market; especially in Australia’s capital cities… but let’s not over exaggerate things.”

Speaking with The Adviser, CEO of Mortgage Choice Michael Russell said he was wary of statistics claiming first home buyers have disappeared.

“When we look at data around first home buyers, like the ABS, it’s important to note that they may only be counting the number of first home buyers who have claimed the first home buyers grant,” he said.

Most states, including NSW, Queensland and Victoria only offer first home owner grants for new homes, with Tasmania and South Australia joining the list later next year.