With the market reined in, are first-homebuyers rising up?
They were the outcasts and underdogs left disappointed in recent years but first-homebuyers are having their day of buying in Inner Sydney.
With the current property market being regulated and engineered to assist first timers, they’re coming researched and ready. APRA restrictions and the self-regulation of banks have thinned the investor pool, and curious scenes are playing out at recent sales where first-homebuyers are the ones competing.
Intervention seems to have mellowed prices and cooled competition. But these buyers aren’t all calm and collected yet.
“First-homebuyers are sensing big opportunities, but they’re fearful of further dips,” one agent says. “They’ve taken the time to grow their deposits and they don’t want to see any little corrections suck their savings away.
“But they’re opening up, engaging, and are much more assertive now in their searches.”
Plenty of recent sales had browsers made up of mostly first timers. Check out some of their triumphs:
Grace bought 173 Bridge Road Glebe and intends to move into the apartment. Buying on a single income, it had been a battle to be the highest competitor.
“I had a number of ups and downs and found it hard to compete against families and established couples with more backing,” she says. “I’d been looking for about a year and a half and felt priced out of the market. This was just good timing.”
“You get a sense that there’s been a little bit of change in prices and things felt a more achievable this time.”
The property sold in the early days of the campaign and didn’t get to auction. And Grace plans to live there long term, holding as long as she can.
Over at 2/7 Tranmere Street Drummoyne, first-homebuyer George was finding it just as hard to get in, with lending rules hampering his efforts.
“The banking royal commission has made it harder to borrow money for investors, sure,” he says. “But they made it harder for first-homebuyers too. I was convinced I wasn’t going to be able to buy anything unless I went further out.
“People were saying the market was softer but I didn’t feel that until this sale came along. Once we got close, you could feel it was different.”
After plenty of time looking, trawling the Internet is now a hobby. And although he’s bought for long term, George is still watching.
“I still think I’m in a good position from what I’ve seen,” he says. “We’ll never have to compete with 300 new apartments. We’re in a small block in an established area.
“We’re where first-homebuyers, families and investors would want to be. That’s going to be better for us in the long run.”
It’s a different story for Harry who says he’s “switching off” after nabbing 14/291 George St Waterloo. “I’m not interested in market ups and downs at all because I’ll be staying here for 3 to 5 years at least,” he says.
“I’m just happy after looking for about 6 months and finding it hard. I missed out on 2 auctions prior, and this time around was just luck.”
The stream of first-homebuyer wins continues.
There’s no denying first-homebuyer interest has reignited. They’re rising up. But is this their revolution?
2019 will tell.