Covid-19 is reshaping Australian home-ownership goals, with the number of first home buyers looking to enter the property market in the next five years doubling from 7% before the pandemic to 16% now.
This is according to new research published by banking giant Westpac, which shows that first-time home buyers are more optimistic about entering the housing market than they were 12 months ago due to factors like more competitive house prices (38%), low interest rates (24%) and the opportunity to live in a new area (24%).
No longer wanting to pay rent (54%) is the major driver for purchasing a first home, followed by seeking more stability (39%) and financial security (37%) after the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.
Lockdown restrictions have been a motivating factor
Beyond financial reasons, the time spent with others during Australia’s lockdown restrictions has also been a motivating factor.
Seven in 10 (69%) of those currently sharing a roof with housemates, parents or in-laws are now keen to get a foot on the property ladder.
A third (32%) of prospective buyers are also seeking a sense of independence through home ownership.
“It’s encouraging that so many Australians are thinking about home ownership despite some of the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” said Westpac’s Managing Director of Mortgages, Anthony Hughes.
Younger people seek sense of stability and independence
He believes the research shows young Australians are increasingly seeking the sense of independence and stability that home ownership provides.
“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,” Hughes said.
He added: “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.”