Frustrated first home buyers swap housemates for home ownership

author-avatar By on November 23, 2020
Frustrated first home buyers swap housemates for home ownership

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Being stuck at home with housemates and parents during COVID-19 lockdowns has led to a surge in homeownership goals.

A new Westpac report shows the number of aspiring first home buyers has doubled since the start of the pandemic, with a desire for stability driving many young Aussies to ditch share house living for homeownership.

No longer wanting to pay rent was a major driver for purchasing a first home for 54% of young Aussies, followed by seeking more stability (39%) and financial security (37%) after the economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.

Being cooped up at home during restrictions has also been a major factor, with 69% of those currently living with housemates, parents or in-laws now more determined to own their own home. 

A third of aspiring first home buyers said a sense of independence was a major driver behind wanting to own a home.

“It’s encouraging that so many Australians are thinking about homeownership despite some of the challenges brought about by the pandemic," said Westpac’s Managing Director of Mortgages, Anthony Hughes.

"It’s also interesting to see this is now largely being driven by Gen Z, who after being cooped up at home during restrictions are now ready to leave their housemates or parents behind for a place of their own – many of whom might not have considered this a possibility prior to COVID-19," Mr Hughes said. 

“Even though younger generations have been some of the most financially impacted this year, it’s positive that many have really used this time to take stock of their finances and get serious about their long-term goals.”

Factors like house prices, record low interest rates and the opportunity to live in a new area drive almost half (48%) of first home buyers to be more optimistic about entering the housing market than they were 12 months ago.

Almost half (48%) of Aussies believe that COVID has led them to reconsider the suburb or area they would like to live in, with that number increasing to 59% for younger Aussies.

Where first home buyers want to live in 2020

  • Sydney – western suburbs located within 10km from the city centre, like Ashbury and Marrickville.
  • Melbourne – eastern suburbs located 20-40km from the CBD, like Mitcham and Croydon.
  • Brisbane – Brisbane CBD and inner-city suburbs up to 20km out, like Chermside and Zillmere.
  • Adelaide – southern suburbs located about 10-20km from the CBD, like Bedford Park and Bellevue Heights.
  • Perth – northern suburbs located within 10km from the city centre, like Dianella and Nollamara.

Mr Hughes said despite home buyer search activity being influenced by COVID, many first home buyers still want to be close to the city.

“While we’re seeing an increasing interest in properties that offer more space, there’s still a strong desire from first home buyers to live somewhere that’s still only about 20-30 minutes away from the CBD," he said. 

“With a younger generation of buyers emerging, many are also weighing up areas that would enable them to maintain a certain lifestyle, like Sydney’s Inner West which is in close proximity to social hubs and nightlife, while also catering to changing needs like the ability to work from home more.”


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

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Emma Duffy joined Savings.com.au as a Finance Journalist in 2019 after spending a year as the editor of The Real Estate Conversation. She's passionate about empowering people to make smart financial decisions and improve the financial literacy of Australians by translating complex finance topics into understandable, relatable content.

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