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Third Annual Home Ownership Report reveals new home buyer trends

30 November, 2017

  • Westpac’s latest Home Ownership Report shows first home buyers are deprioritising ‘trendy’ areas and proximity to work to get on to the property ladder
  • Modern bathrooms and kitchens are now more important for first home buyers
  • Home owner-occupiers are increasingly considering renovating while selling is decreasing


Westpac’s 2017 Home Ownership Report reveals first home buyers1 have significantly reprioritised what matters most when searching for their ideal home.


The research, commissioned by Westpac in September, surveyed over 1,000 Australian home owners and first home buyers, and features trend data from the past two years. The latest report demonstrates in 2017 first home buyers are less focused on buying a home in an area that is trendy or close to work, with both significantly decreasing in the ranking of “essential features” by 83% and 48% respectively, compared to 2016.


A quiet neighbourhood, access to public transport, and safety are features that have also become less important during the decision-making process, with each decreasing by 37%, 21% and 9% respectively.


Head of Home Ownership for Westpac Group, Andy Wright said in the face of housing affordability challenges and rising household costs, the research suggests first home buyers are becoming increasingly flexible and willing to shift their priorities in order to achieve their ultimate goal.


“These attitudinal shifts among first-home buyers towards home ownership suggest we may see more looking to buy in areas that they hadn’t considered, with many previously thought ‘essential’ features now just ‘nice-to-have’,” Mr Wright said.


“In fact, the market saw home loans to first home buyers rise to a four year high of 17.4% in September of this year2, which suggests we may be already seeing the positive results of these shifts, combined with government incentives in New South Wales and Victoria.”


First home buyers are turning their attention to the inside of a home instead, as modern bathrooms and kitchens become more essential, increasing by 25% and 10% respectively since 2016.


Nearly one in five first home buyers3 plan to support the purchase of their first home with help from family or friends, including guarantor loans.


Meanwhile, home owner-occupiers are opting to maximise their current home and are increasingly considering renovating, growing 14% since 2015. The number of those considering selling a home has decreased by 11% compared to last year, bringing it back to the same level as 2015.


“Our data shows that home owner-occupiers are increasingly choosing to focus on improving their current home rather than selling and relocating,” Mr Wright said.


The majority of home owners (62%) prioritising renovating4 plan to use their savings as their main funding method to renovate, and 17% of home owners who are dipping into their savings will complement this with their home loan5, possibly accessing the equity they’ve built up.


“No matter what your housing priorities are in the next year, it is important to do thorough research, make a realistic plan, and consider the best pathway to purchase that suits your individual situation,” Mr Wright said.


“At Westpac, we have specialised home lending experts available to chat to anyone considering their next move. We’re committed to helping our customers with information and products that are best suited to their needs, and personalised advice based on their circumstances.”



1 First home buyers are defined as those who intend to purchase their first home within the next two years

2 Source: Housing Finance, Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics, figures from September 2017

3 17% of first home buyers will complement their primary funding method for the purchase of their first home in the next 5 years with help from family and friends

4 In the next five years

5 Home owners who are using their savings as their primary funding method for a house action