Home buying back on Aussies’ ‘to-do’ list

New research reveals that after cooling their plans through 2023, Australians are once again laying the groundwork to buy.

The latest Westpac Home Ownership Report found that 44 per cent of Australians plan to buy a new home in the next five years – increasing 9 per cent since July 2023.

Increases were also recorded in investors, with 6 per cent saying they plan to purchase an investment property. Upsizers and renovators also increased by 4 per cent each.

But the Australians readying to get active in the property market appear to be current home owners already. The survey showed a 3 per cent decrease in Australians planning to achieve first-time home ownership in the next five years, with 86 per cent citing cost-of-living pressures as the reason for delaying their property purchasing plans.

First-time buyers who are still pushing forward with their purchasing plans despite affordability pressures reported adjusting their current expenses as well as expectations of what home ownership might look like. Two-thirds said they cut back on expenses like food delivery to help save for a deposit. Three-quarters said they are now willing to buy somewhere they hadn’t previously considered, while half are considering rentvesting.

Almost half again said they are willing to pay for lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to get into their first home sooner rather than later.

Westpac’s managing director of mortgages, Damien MacRae, said that the new year has urged a lot of Australians to double down on their aspirations of owning either their first home, or one that is better suited to their needs.

“While some buyers have paused their housing plans, the intention to buy remains strong and prospective buyers are becoming more ruthless with their goals,” MacRae said.

“They understand it’s a big task, but they are determined to break into the market and are willing to compromise to get there.”

Furthermore, the research discovered that apartment living is having something of a resurgence for home buyers. While buying a house is still the preference for many, it has decreased by 5 percentage points since 2021 and apartments and units have increased in popularity by 7 per cent.

Interest in townhomes have reportedly doubled, while house and package preferences have quadrupled.

“During the pandemic we saw more buyers seeking property further from the city in pursuit of more space, however it appears buyers are willing to concede on location in order to get a foot in the door,” MacRae added.

“While it’s promising to see buyer confidence returning with growth in medium- to long-term plans, this underscores the importance of addressing the challenge around supply shortages. We welcome federal and state government initiatives which seek to address this, and now need businesses and government at all levels to progress with implementing these policies at pace,” he added.

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