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First home buyers could be more active than reported in official statistics, with over a third choosing to purchase an investment property, new research from PIPA has revealed.

According to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia’s (PIPA) 2018 Investor Sentiment Survey of 820 Australians nationwide, over the past 12 months, 36 per cent of first home buyers (FHBs) opted to “rentvest” rather than buy an owner-occupier property, with a further 63 per cent noting that they would consider rentvesting as a property investment strategy.

PIPA chairman Peter Koulizos said that the research suggests that FHB activity may be underreported, with the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reporting that FHBs represented 18 per cent of loan approvals in September. 

“What this insight shows us is that first-time property buyers generally have probably been more active over recent years than official statistics originally recorded,” he said. 

“The [ABS] publicly admitted issues with first home buyer statistics from 2012 to 2016, in part due to some lenders only reporting loans to first home buyers who received a First Home Owner Grant.

“Of course, most grants were restricted to first-timers buying a new property as their home, not as an investment, many years ago.”

The PIPA survey also found that the majority of FHBs had opted to buy an established property, despite the availability of state government grants for the purchase of new dwellings.

“About 83 per cent of first-timers purchased existing property with only 14 per cent buying new or off-the-plan,” Mr Koulizos said.

“This is partly due to affordability considerations, with established properties generally available for lower prices points than new, plus the majority of all investors always prefer existing properties.”

The PIPA chairman claimed that the preference for established housing among FHBs is evidence that proposals to change negative gearing policy to increase supply were “ill-conceived”.

“Established property has greater capital growth, and any tax benefits associated with new property generally doesn’t make up for comparably poorer price performance over the long term,” he concluded.



Reporter, The Adviser, 5 December 2018