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First-home buyers remain out in the cold, despite affordability improvements

The number of first-home buyers in Australia declined 11.2% over the March quarter, according to latest Adelaide Bank/REIA Housing Affordability Report.

The March quarter edition of the Adelaide Bank/Real Estate Institute of Australia Housing Affordability Report shows housing affordability improved across  the country, but the number of first home buyers decreased in all states and territories.

The proportion of family income required to meet loan repayments decreased by 1.3 percentage points during the March quarter to 30.4 per cent. The result was 1.3 percentage points lower than for the corresponding quarter in 2016, showing affordability is improving.

REIA President Malcolm Gunning said first-home buyers make up only 13.4 per cent of total owner-occupied housing. The rate of first-home buyers has been on a downward trend for more than five years. 

Damian Percy, general manager Adelaide Bank, said, "While the improvement in housing affordability for the March quarter is to be welcomed, we are still in the midst of a housing affordability crisis and we need to treat it as such. Recent measures by governments to assist first home buyers are similarly welcomed, but the reality is that it will take years for these policy measures to wash through the system and translate into meaningful price action.”

“The number of first-home buyers decreased to 20,677 over the March quarter – a drop of 11.2%," said Percy. 

Percy said the nation's housing affordability crisis was having a "profound impact" on the "economic and social well-being of the nation.”

Gunning said, “It will be interesting to see the effects that stamp duty exemptions and concessions announced in Victoria and more recently in NSW have on first home buyers."

“We anticipate that more first home buyers will be enticed to enter the market place. However, it will take time for any response to filter into our data as the changes do not come into effect until 1 July 2017,” Gunning said. 

Over the March quarter, the proportion of median family income required to meet rent payments increased by 0.1 percentage points to 24.6 per cent. However, the results varied across the states and territories, with rental affordability improving slightly in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. 

Read more about housing affordability:

Housing affordability improves, but the problem remains