As land supply increases, so will first home buyers: Mark Steinert

Zoe FieldingFebruary 13, 20140 min read

First home buyers will return to the property market as governments increase land supply, Stockland managing director Mark Steinert expects.

“We see a proactive focus from governments to improve the land supply that’s going to address the affordability issue,” Steinert said at the group’s half year results briefing last week.

Stockland, which produces small, high density residential properties at low price points, sells about half of the homes it builds to first-time buyers.

Despite low interest rates, first home buyer demand has been subdued as price rises and the removal of government grants for buying established dwellings have made it more difficult to save a deposit.

First home buyers accounted for 12.7% of total owner occupied housing finance commitments in December 2013, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

FHB-feb-14

Real Estate Institute of Australia president Peter Bushby said the figure was alarming compared with the long-run average of 19.9%. The REIA has called on governments to help first time buyers back into the market by allowing them to use superannuation savings to buy a home and by reinstating grants.

The Reserve Bank noted in its February Statement on Monetary Policy that demand for established housing was especially weak as changes in state government incentives for first home buyers toward new dwellings and away from established properties had shifted their purchases accordingly.

Housing Industry Association senior economist Shane Garrett said governments would have to further lift constraints on planning for new homes, land supply and infrastructure funding to maintain activity in the market.

“Addressing these issues will do much to improve longer term housing affordability,” Garrett said.

Steinert said there was a large amount of pent up demand from first home buyers for properties and rising prices in inner urban areas were encouraging people to look further out.

“There has been increased activity in the middle to outer rings as people search for a great lifestyle outcome at a competitive price,” Steinert said.

Stockland settled on 2,253 residential lots in the first half of 2014, an increase of 8.1% compared with the first half of 2013. Its revenue from residential property sales to consumers was up by 2.9% to $392 million, the group reported.

“We’ve seen a combination of price increases as well as volume [sales] increases,” Steinert said.

Prices for the group’s properties had increased by 8 to 10% in Sydney, and up to 5% elsewhere, he said. Packages that were previously on offer giving buyers extra such as landscaping included in the sale price were no longer widely available.

news@propertyobserver.com.au

Zoe Fielding

I am a freelance journalist and editor with more than 15 years experience specialising in personal finance, property, financial services and financial technology. A skilled writer and researcher, I have extensive experience producing high quality content for corporate and media clients. I am used to working to tight deadlines and tailoring the pieces I produce to suit a variety of audiences and formats.
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