first-home buyer

How 2020 became the year of the first-home buyer

PHOTO: First-home buyers have reached their highest level in over a decade, despite the pandemic. Photo: iStock

Many first-home buyers entered 2020 fearful they had missed their window to buy, but the unexpected events of the year have prompted the biggest entry-level property buying spree in a decade.

Rising dwelling prices early in the year discouraged many, before the coronavirus pandemic and recession hit and the market paused. But a raft of grants and discounts meant first-time buyers then rushed into the market at the highest levels since the first-home-owner grant was tripled during the GFC.

It’s been an unexpected opportunity for some who kept their jobs to snap up their first home in the absence of investor competition – provided they can afford the sticker price, which is still a barrier to others.

The year started with the rollout of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS), with the federal government offering 10,000 first-home buyers the opportunity to get into the market with as little as a 5 per cent deposit, without paying lender’s mortgage insurance.

The first 3000 spots with the major banks were snapped up within 10 days, with the remaining 7000 spots with 25 smaller lenders gone by May. A further 10,000 places were made available on July 1, with fewer than 200 left as of late November.

The auction of 4 Woodvale Avenue North Epping
A recent auction in Sydney’s north-west drew 14 first-home buyers. Photo: Peter Rae

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