Home Price Gains Driven By Investors Hurting First Time Aussie Buyers

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Sydney Opera House (Australia)
Sydney Opera House (Australia)

Looking to buy a starter home in Australia? It might be more difficult than you expect.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released earlier this month, first-time buyers represented just 12.5 percent of all activity in September -- the smallest amount noted since the figures started being collected in 1991.

Investment lending jumped 5.2 percent in September, while the number of loans to owner-occupiers increased to 4.4 percent, according to ABC.

UBS AG (UBS) Australia’s chief economist Scott Haslem told ABC that first-time buyers are having trouble meeting asking prices.

“Housing in Australia still remains pretty expensive, but it has become cheaper than it has been for the last ten years given the fall in interest rates and, up until recently, pretty low prices," Mr Haslem told ABC. "In contrast though, first home owners aren't seeing relative affordability, they're seeing absolute unaffordability, so I think for first home owners housing in Australia still looks pretty expensive."

Sydney is especially popular among buyers, with prices in the city rising 3.6 percent in September 2013. Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Darwin also saw increases of 1.9 percent, 1.2 percent, 0.2 percent, 1.4 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

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