Supporting first home buyers
15 November 2023
Supporting first home buyers
The good, the bad, and the unintended consequences
While high house prices are often cited as the biggest challenge faced by first homebuyers, recent AHURI research highlights that the problem is significantly more complex. Critically, existing policy settings are likely to have exacerbated rather than alleviated the challenge faced by first homebuyers to finance home ownership. Politically seductive measures such as first homeowner grants and tax concessions have failed to arrest declining rates of home ownership.
Aspiring first homebuyers who have been able to buy a home have made a variety of strategy and behavioural changes, including buying more affordable attached dwellings (e.g. units and apartments) that are further away from their household’s social and economic networks, and finding other sources of financing such as from parents.
This 90 minute panel discussion explored the findings from the AHURI Inquiry: Financing home ownership: opportunities and challenges, including a discussion of what actions first home buyers are taking to achieve home ownership, and what policy interventions do and don’t work to support first home buyers in the Australian market.
Professor Stephen Whelan, Associate Dean, School of Economics, University of Sydney
Professor Whelan has training in economics and law and has held positions at the University of Sydney since 2002. He is an accomplished applied economist who has expertise in labour markets, housing-economics and microeconometrics. Stephen has successfully participated in and led a series of AHURI projects collaborating with a range of experts and policymakers across housing related projects related to intergenerational transfers; labour mobility; and, downsizing among older Australians. Most recently Stephen led the AHURI funded Inquiry into financing first home ownership. Those projects have led to a number of publications in peer reviewed journals including the Journal of Housing Economics. Amongst other topics, Stephen’s current research supported by the Australian Research Council focuses on how housing is associated with increasing inequality across generations.
Eliza Owen, Head of Research, CoreLogic
Eliza Owen was appointed the Head of Research at CoreLogic Australia in 2020. She has spent almost a decade as a housing market researcher, having previously worked at Domain Group and Residex. Eliza has reported extensively on key issues related to housing in Australia, including affordability, credit conditions and the impact of the COVID-19 on performance.
Dr Marcus Spiller, Principal & Partner, SGS Economics & Planning
Dr Marcus Spiller is a founding partner at SGS, Marcus is formally qualified in commerce and urban planning. He has practised as a consultant for much of his career, though he has also worked as an academic, local government town planner, Ministerial Adviser and senior bureaucrat in State and Commonwealth Government agencies. He is an expert in regional economic development, housing policy, infrastructure funding and metropolitan governance. This includes writing and co-editing two books on urban management. Marcus is past National President of the Planning Institute of Australia. He has served on the Commonwealth Government’s National Housing Supply Council and a similar advisory committee set up by the NSW Government. He is a Ministerial appointee to the Housing Supply Expert Panel for South East Queensland and sits on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on planning mechanisms for affordable housing in Victoria. He is a former Board member at Development Victoria.
Dr Tom Alves, Head of Development, AHURI
Tom leads the Professional Services and Strategic Initiatives components of AHURI's business. He leads a team delivering responsive, high-quality consultancy services, and works closely with AHURI’s University partners, Australian governments, industry, the community sector and other stakeholders to and to develop AHURI’s standing as an authoritative voice in international housing and urban policy discussion.
Tom has a PhD in Housing and Urban Studies and has held positions at RMIT University and The University of Melbourne in the disciplines of Property, Architecture and Urban Planning. He has substantial experience in policy and advisory work with the Victorian Government and fourteen years’ experience working in architectural practices in Melbourne and Sydney.
Tom has skills in program leadership and project management and a strong background in housing and urban policy development, and a deep knowledge of built environment design and delivery processes.
View the recording
15 November 2023