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Official figures show first time buyers returning in Australia after stamp duty change

First time buyers are returning to some housing markets in Australia after the national Government introduced property tax concessions, new official figures show.

They are more active in markets in Victoria and in New South Wales where numbers increased to their highest level since 2012, up from 8.8% to 11.5%, according to the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

And in Victoria the stamp duty incentives, introduced at the beginning of July, have pushed the number of first time buyer loans up to 18.8% compared to a year ago and their highest level for four years.

‘These policy interventions have driven a dramatic increase in the involvement of first home buyers in the market. Government policy decisions drive consumer behaviour in the housing market,’ said Tim Reardon, principal economist at the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

‘Improvements to first home buyer incentives have provided a significant impact on the market,’ he explained but added that the increase in regulatory restrictions and punitive taxes have resulted in a 3.9% fall in investor lending.

The ABS figures also shows that prices increased by 10.2% in the three months to the end of July 2017 with the strongest growth in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra but they continue to drop in Perth and Darwin.

‘The bottom line is that unabated price increases are putting the dream of home ownership beyond the reach of more and more Australians,’ said Shane Garrett, HIA senior economist.

‘The ultimate solution to the affordability challenge is to make the delivery of our future housing stock easier and less costly. More flexibility in housing supply is the answer,’ he added.

A breakdown of the figure shows that the biggest price rise was in Sydney with growth of 14.4%, followed by Melbourne with a rise of 13.4%, Hobart up 11.3%, Canberra up 8.9%, Adelaide up 5% and Brisbane up 3.5% while prices fell by 3.5% in Perth and by 5.9% in Darwin.