Industry exec questions FHB numbers

A top executive has questioned below-trend first home buyer numbers.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, Finsure managing director John Kolenda questioned the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for failing to include first home buyers who purchased established properties.

“How do they account for a first-time buyer who buys an established home, who isn’t taking any grant?” he said.

“I think the statistics probably are skewed to some degree.”

The number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner-occupied housing finance commitments rose to 12.6 per cent in March 2014 from 12.5 per cent in February 2014, according to ABS figures.

However, the proportion of first home buyer housing finance commitments remains significantly lower than the long-run average, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

REIA president Peter Bushby said that while first home buyer mortgage commitments grew marginally in March, the segment is still a concern.

“The proportion of first home buyers in the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments increased marginally to 12.6 per cent compared to 12.5 per cent in February and the low point of 12.3 per cent in November 2013,” Mr Bushby said.

“This is still dramatically lower than the long-run average proportion of 19.9 per cent and continues to be of concern.”

But Mr Kolenda is seeing more demand than the figures suggest.

“Maybe the numbers aren’t as strong as they were when the incentives applied across the board, but I still think there is a reasonable number of first home buyers in the market and I just don’t think they are being accounted for in the numbers,” he said.

“The ABS is really only counting those who are buying off the plan or new builds.”

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