AHURI BRIEF

When are Australians buying their first home?

Examining trends in first home purchasing

Last updated 2 October 2019

The 22 years between 1995–96 and 2017–18 has seen an increase in the proportion of Australians buying their first home at an older age. The mean age of people buying their first home in Australia has edged up from 33 for either a new or established dwelling in 1995–96 to 35 for a new dwelling and 36 for an established dwelling in 2017–18.

Figure 1: Age bracket of first home buyers (by percentage) in 1995-96 and 2017-18.

Percentage of first home buyers by age bracket

Source: ABS Housing Occupancy and Costs, 17 July 2019.

There has also been a large reduction in the proportion of householders aged 15–24 buying a new dwelling, from 13.2 per cent of all first home buyers in 1995–96 to 3.1 per cent in 2017–18.

The large increase in first home buyers buying townhouses or apartments is seen in the fact that 39.8 per cent of new home buyers bought an attached home or apartment in 2017–18, whereas only 9.3 per cent bought those styles of dwelling 22 years earlier. In 1995–96 first home buyers who bought a new dwelling were more likely to buy a standalone house (88.6% of new buyers) than was the case in 2017–18, when 65.4 per cent of first home buyers who were buying a new property bought a standalone house.

Figure 2: Dwelling type (house, townhouses or apartments) bought by first home buyers in 1995-96 and 2017-18.*

Percentage of houses, townhouses and apartments by first home buyers

Source: ABS Housing Occupancy and Costs, 17 July 2019. *First home buyers (new) and existing home owners (estab.).

First home buyers also experienced a 220.3 per cent increase in the price of new homes over the time period 1995–96 to 2017–18 (while the CPI over that time was 69.9% and the mean gross household income increased by 64.7%).

Figure 3: Median price of new homes bought by first home buyers by age group in 1995-96 and 2017-18.

Median price of first homes by age group

Source: ABS Housing Occupancy and Costs, 17 July 2019.

A related AHURI Brief looks at why more young people are choosing to stay, or move back to the family home.