New research from Westpac revealed that the number of first home buyers looking to enter the market has more than doubled since 2019, proving that COVID-19 continues to shape Australian home ownership goals.
According to Westpac, the number of first home buyers looking to enter the property market in the next five years has significantly increased from 7 per cent in 2019 to 16 per cent in 2020.
The research found that among the major drivers for home purchase are: ‘no longer wanting to pay rent’ (54 per cent), ‘seeking more stability’ (39 per cent) and ‘financial security’ (37 per cent), particularly after the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.
Further, nearly half (48 per cent) of first home buyers are more optimistic about entering the housing market than they were 12 months ago due to factors like house prices (38 per cent), low interest rates (24 per cent) and the opportunity to live in a new area (24 per cent).
Beyond financial reasons, the findings suggest that time spent with others during restrictions has also been a motivating factor, with seven in 10 (69 per cent) of those currently sharing a roof with housemates, parents or in-laws now determined to get a foot on the ladder. A third (32 per cent) of prospective buyers are also seeking a sense of independence through home ownership.
According to Westpac’s managing director of mortgages, Anthony Hughes, the research ultimately showed that young Australians are increasingly seeking the sense of independence and stability that home ownership provides.
“It’s encouraging that so many Australians are thinking about home ownership despite some of the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
“It’s also interesting to see this is now largely being driven by Gen Z, who, after being cooped up at home during restrictions, are now ready to leave their housemates or parents behind for a place of their own – many of whom might not have considered this a possibility prior to COVID-19.
“Even though younger generations have been some of the most financially impacted this year, it’s positive that many have really used this time to take stock of their finances and get serious about their long-term goals,” Ms Hughes highlighted.
The research also found that almost half (48 per cent) of Australians believe that COVID-19 has made them reconsider the type of suburb or area they would like to live in. Looking closer at age groups, Gen Z surpassed the national average by increasing to 59 per cent.
Melbourne’s eastern suburbs have also attracted attention from young home seekers, particularly eastern suburbs located 20-40km from the CBD, like and .
In Adelaide, southern suburbs located about 10-20km from the CBD, like Bedford Park and Bellevue Heights, are considered hotspots, as well as ’s northern suburbs located within 10km from the city centre, like Dianella and Nollamara.
“While we’re seeing an increasing interest in properties that offer more space, there’s still a strong desire from first home buyers to live somewhere that’s still only about 20-30 minutes away from the CBD,” Mr Hughes said.
“With a younger generation of buyers emerging, many are also weighing up areas that would enable them to maintain a certain lifestyle, like Sydney’s inner west, which is in close proximity to social hubs and nightlife, while also catering to changing needs like the ability to work from home more.”