What first-home buyers are really looking for


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Airfares take off in time for Christmas, festive season sees a sleigh-load of zero-interest credit card deals, and first-home buyers put pets over parents. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Fur kids take priority over family for first-home buyers

First-home buyers rank space for a pet above proximity to family, a new CommBank survey has revealed.

first home buyers prioritise pets over parents

Close to two in five first-home buyers say space for a pet is extremely important in their choice of home, compared to less than one in four who rank proximity to family as most important.

However, neither fur kids nor family are the top deal breakers.

CommBank found the leading non-negotiables for first-home buyers are:

  • 69% - a home priced within the buyer's budget
  • 57% - the location of the property, and
  • 52% - the type of property.

CommBank's executive general manager of home buying, Michael Baumann, says, "The aspiration of owning a home continues to remain strong among young Aussies who currently don't own a property, with almost three-quarters agreeing  that buying their first home is one of their biggest financial goals."

Strong demand for flights pushes up airfares ahead of Christmas

Domestic airfares have hit altitudes far above pre-pandemic levels - just in time for the summer holidays.

The extra revenue is helping Australia's three airline groups - Qantas Group, Virgin Australia and Rex, forecast a profitable financial year after three years of significant losses. That's great for airlines, but not so good for consumers.

The ACCC says that in November 2022, the cheapest economy return fares for more than 10 routes cost more than double the equivalent fares in November 2019.

Some fares have more than tripled. Return fares from Sydney to Ayers Rock (Uluru) Airport for example have jumped from $249 to $829.

ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey says, "Airfares have risen due to strong demand for travel, and constrained supply as airlines have scaled back their schedules in response to high jet fuel costs and operational challenges."

Discounted economy fares have increased the most because fewer flights coupled with high demand means airlines have no incentive to offer cut-price fares to fill planes.

Brakey says the ACCC will be closely monitoring airlines. She adds, "We would be concerned if airlines withheld capacity to keep airfares high".

For a heads up on airfare specials, consider subscribing to email alerts for Jetstar's Friday Fare Frenzy sales, Virgin's Happy Hour sales, and Rex's Midweek promo fares.

Challenger airline Bonza is yet to announce an official start date for flying.

Festive season drives flurry of interest-free card deals

Credit card issuers are tapping into the seasonal spending frenzy by ramping up interest-free introductory offers in the lead-up to Christmas.

Mozo's latest banking round-up shows ANZ's Platinum credit card offers 0% interest on eligible purchases for 25 months, with the annual fee (normally $87) waived in the first year. The current revert rate on purchases is 20.24%.

Bendigo Bank has launched two new credit cards - Bright and Ready. Both have a 0% purchase rate for 18 months. After this, a rate of 9.99% applies to the Bright card and 19.99% for Ready.

The Coles Rewards Mastercard now has a 0% for 15 months introductory purchase rate but its 0% balance transfer period has been cut from 12 to 6 months.

Savings on energy harder to find

According to the Australian Energy Regulator's retail markets report for 2021-22, energy prices are not just rising, it's also becoming harder for households to find savings by switching to a new provider.

Compare the Market's Chris Ford says a "perfect storm" of factors is causing prices to increase - with electricity prices predicted to soar by 20% by late 2022 and a further 30% in the 2023-24 financial year.

The table below highlights Compare the Market's picks for cheapest plans across its database.

Vanguard receives infringement notice for greenwashing

Investment watchdog ASIC has issued infringement notices against popular investment manager Vanguard for alleged greenwashing.

Greenwashing is the practice of misrepresenting the extent to which a product or investment strategy is environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical.

ASIC was concerned that the Product Disclosure Statements for the Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Funds may have mislead investors by overstating an exclusion - or 'investment screen'.

ASIC says the funds in question excluded manufacturers of cigarettes and other tobacco products, but did not screen out companies involved in the sale of tobacco products.

It may be a fine line, but the Consumer Policy Research Centre says that in any 24 hours, consumers can come across 122 'green' claims across 17 sectors including groceries, personal care products, banking, and superannuation.

Less than one-third of these claims are backed by accurate or meaningful evidence.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.