Property ownership is highly valued and aspirational in Australian society, particularly because it is seen to provide security, stability, freedom, privacy and a platform for building future wealth.
First home buyers are a diverse and evolving group. People of all ages, life stages, backgrounds, and careers aspire to home ownership.
Indeed, despite the doom and gloom that some media outlets, professional commentators and armchair experts continue to espouse, Australians are getting onto the property ladder every day.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that the average age of first home buyers in Australia has been steadily on the rise since the 1980s. Research from RAMS confirms this trend and highlights the changing demographics of the group – with more women, single people and 30-somethings entering the market for the first time.
The research also found that 41 per cent of first-time buyers are now 36 and over, while the proportion of those aged 25 and under has fallen.
There are challenges and rewards unique to first home buyers, and for many, getting that first one is hard work. Indeed, the first home buyer market is frequently described as “volatile” because first-time potential buyers are heavily influenced by broader social changes – such as the deferral in family formation, longer periods spent in higher education and training, and the changing composition of households.
In addition, discussions and debates about first home buyers are inextricably linked to issues around housing affordability, youth unemployment rates, access to (and cost of) credit, government policies and incentives, international buyers, and investor activity.
The social and economic characteristics of first home buyers may have changed over time, but there will always be people across the country willing and able to purchase their first home – and even more working towards it.