PROPERTY

What soaring property prices could mean for first home buyers

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Australian property values strengthened nation-wide through January, but what does this mean for first home buyers?

According to CoreLogic, property prices rose 0.7% in January and are up 1.7% on a year ago. Quite a thing, given we're still in the throes of a pandemic with unemployment over 5%.

Melbourne and Sydney both saw dwelling values climb 0.4%. Other capitals did well too - Darwin up 2.3%, Hobart and Perth up 1.6%, Canberra up 1.2%, while Adelaide and Brisbane both enjoyed gains of 0.9%.

property prices first home buyers

Regional dwellings, meanwhile, continued their upward trajectory with prices increasing 1.6% in January and 7.9% for the past year.

"Internal migration data shows more people are leaving Sydney and Melbourne for regional areas, resulting in a transition of activity from the metro regions to the outer fringe and regional markets," says CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless.

"Better housing affordability, an opportunity for a lifestyle upgrade and lower density housing options are other factors that might be contributing to this trend, along with the newfound popularity of remote working arrangements."

What's more, experts surveyed for Finder's RBA Cash Rate Survey expect every capital city to see price growth through 2021.

Perth is best situated, with experts forecasting a lift in the median house price of 7.5%, from $510,000 to $548,250 (+$38,250), by the end of the year.

Next came Brisbane (6.9%, +$39,583) followed by Sydney (5.5%, +$53,305).

All told, the resilience of the property market will be music to the ears of current owners and investors.

For first home buyers who had hoped for a COVID-19 silver lining of greater affordability, it's a different story.

They have been provided some respite, however, with an additional 1800 spots soon to be released in the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, allowing singles earning up to $125,000 and couples earning up to $200,000 to purchase a property with a deposit of as little as 5%.

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
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