FHB statistics to be reformed

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced it will change its method of estimating data for first home buyers and the extent of revisions.

The decision to change the methodology comes after an investigation found that some lenders experience difficulty reporting on loans paid without a first home owner’s grant.

The new methodology will be released on the ABS website on February 4, and future data will include an adjustment for under-reporting of loans.

In June last year, Finsure managing director John Kolenda questioned below-trend figures released by the ABS on first home buyer numbers.

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

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

Mr Kolenda said the ABS was really only counting those who were purchasing new property or buying off-the-plan.

“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.

In original terms, the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner-occupied housing finance commitments rose to 11.6 per cent in November 2014 from 11.4 per cent in October 2014.

Between October 2014 and November 2014, the average loan size for first home buyers rose $2,600 to $317,600.

The average loan size for all owner-occupied housing commitments rose $4,700 to $336,000 for the same period.

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