Posts Tagged ‘buyers’
With affordability at its lowest level on record, first-home buyers are thinking outside the square.
The home-ownership dream rarely used to feature a sibling in your bathtub and a parent on your certificate of title. These days though, first-home buyers are becoming more and more flexible.
Housing affordability fell to record lows in the March quarter this year according to the latest Housing Industry Association-Commonwealth Bank report. Mortgage payments accounting for 30.7 per cent of total first-home buyer income these days!
Generations X and Y are also settling down later meaning for many home ownership is a solo battle.
It’s not surprising then that increasing numbers of first-home buyers are teaming up with siblings, parents or friends in a bid to break into the property market.
“There’s been a noticeable trend towards family members buying property together, as property prices are still very high, particularly for first-home buyers,” says Aussie Home Loans boss John Symond.
The number of family members taking out mortgages together has jumped from about 1% of all loans originated by ‘Aussie’ to 5 per cent over the past two years! Mortgage Choice has reported a similar trend. A survey carried out by the company last year revealed more than 6 per cent of people who bought property within the past two years had done so with family or friends. And of those who intended to buy property within the next two years, over 8 per cent intended to do so with family or friends!
Melbourne’s outer suburb vacancy rates have improved from 0.7 per cent to 1.8 per cent in the past six months, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s April vacancy rates.
Vacancy rates across Melbourne are reasonably steady having been between one and 1.4% for 12 months. However it‘s significant that there’s a noted improvement in the outer suburbs.
The improvement more than likely due to the number of first homebuyers moving from rented accommodation into their own homes with the assistance of the grants, bonus and boosts.
The March quarter median prices showed that most of the activity in the marketplace has been in the outer suburbs; for instance Craigieburn, Melton South, Hillside, Epping, Caroline Springs, Werribee and Meadow Heights – all outer suburbs of Melbourne very popular with first homebuyers.
It‘s great news for renters if a by-product of the grants, bonus and boosts is an improvement in availability of rental accommodation, however monitoring of the situation over the next few months will tell of any continual improvement..
We’d consider that the rental market would be in balance once we reach a Melbourne-wide vacancy rate of 3%.
The last month’s REIV members figures show a very minor change in the inner suburbs where the vacancy rate moved from 1.5 to 1.3 per cent and in the middle suburbs where it moved from 1.4 to 1.3 per cent.
It’d seem the stars are aligned: low rates, population growth, low vacancy rates, strong rental market and a shortage of housing in the majority of capital cities.
Since the latter 2008, the number of loans to first home buyers has outweighed substantially those to existing owner-occupiers and investors as first-time buyers rush to take advantage of the increased government grant. These numbers are set to surge in the next two months after the Prime Minister indicated that the increased grant will end June 30. In previous interest-rate cycles, lending to investors and existing home buyers increased alongside that to first-home buyers.
Partly, the reason is that investors aren’t getting the first-home-owner grant, and when laying your own money down instead of the governments’, you think more carefully before deciding to take the plunge. Unemployment concerns and fears about how the economy will evolve this year are also reasons why investors aren’t yet entering the market.
Consumer sentiment figures released earlier this month by the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Survey found pessimists still outnumbered optimists and, with the prospect of more unemployment, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Interest rates are one of the crucial aspects investors consider. During the past month or so, several of the big banks have increased their fixed mortgage rates, even though variable rates are expected to go even lower.
Banks say it’s due to an increase in the rates in the wholesale market where they access funds. Not everyone accepts that that is the reason, but most acknowledge it’s a signal borrowing costs are near their lowest levels!!
Some economists believe fixed rates will continue to rise as banks manage their risk, and it is just a matter of the speed at which it happens. Fixed rates are not popular at the moment even with investors who traditionally used this option.
That’s not a surprise, given the cash rate is expected to fall to 2 per cent by the end of the year.
But fixed rates are a bit of a barometer of the longer term trend in interest rates, so they’re worth watching. It also pays to remember that just because the Reserve Bank of Australia cuts rates’, that doesn’t mean banks have to follow suit.
Only time can tell, whether or not property buying will be better next year!
Maybe investors are waiting for a sign that unemployment will stop rising, or for first-home buyer activity to dry up!
MELBOURNE’S last big auction day of 2008 ended with a mad scramble from buyers and sellers hoping to get contracts signed before Christmas.
The weekend clearance rate of 57 per cent from more than 600 auctions was still low, but up on the previous week.
Industry experts said the scramble, fuelled by interest rate cuts, showed that the property downturn might be easing.
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