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Nearly half of all new home buyers right now are single, defying sky-high prices in some of Australia's most expensive cities

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 8/04/2021 Jack Derwin
a man holding a sign: Single home buyers are making up a surprisingly larger portion of the market. (Daniel Munoz, SMH) Single home buyers are making up a surprisingly larger portion of the market. (Daniel Munoz, SMH)
  • New data indicates couples are increasingly competing with singles in the property market, with the latter group making up almost half of all recent or prospective buyers.
  • A survey from Finder found that 45% of all buyers are singles, despite property prices rising sharply.
  • It appears they're being attracted by rock bottom interest rates that are helping them buy in otherwise out of reach markets.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.

House prices might be shooting through the roof, but Australian singles aren't taking much note as they pile onto the property ladder.

New data provided exclusively to Business Insider Australia shows that elusive coupledom isn't enough to stop Australians from trying to purchase a home, no matter how high asking prices may have gotten.

A survey conducted by Finder found that 45% of recent or prospective buyers had entered the market on their own, led by Generation X.

The surprising surge of lone buyers could be attributed to a number of factors, according Finder's head of insights, Graham Cooke.

"Aussies have been spending more time at home over the past year, witnessed extremely low interest rates and the emergence of government grants and concessions for first home buyers," he said.

"This may have encouraged many to enter the property market sooner, and buy on their own if they need to."

Curiously, those buyers seem to have not been shut out of some of the country's most expensive markets either. One in four singles were buying in the Sydney market, while one in five were looking around Melbourne.

Record lending in recent months, fuelled by enormous buyer demand, has helped property prices not only bounce but break records. Sydney house prices are at an all-time high while national values are rising at a pace not seen for decades.

It's ironic that the drivers of falling affordability are the same as those enabling singles to get onto the ladder, including an official cash rate stuck at 0.10%. While the Reserve Bank has indicated interest rates won't be hiked for several years, single income households may be left the most exposed when they eventually do.

Other factors, like a fear of missing out and frustration at having been previously priced out, are also likely behind singles looking to now buy in Sydney and Melbourne.

Across the country it's a consistent trend. Almost one in four buyers are hunting in either Brisbane or regional Queensland, while 12% are in regional New South Wales.

Curiously, singles are actually budgeting more than couples, being almost twice as likely to be looking at homes worth upwards of $1 million. Less surprising is the fact that singles are more likely to have taken more than five years to scrape together a deposit, or that men make up a disproportionate number of single buyers, given their typically higher earnings.

It comes as regulators become increasingly concerned over high value loans, with single income households the most likely to experience tightening restrictions in future.

Right now however, Cooke has some advice for those who haven't given up hope of doing it on their own,

"Having a single income can make qualifying for a home loan more challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. Make sure you can show a solid record of savings and responsible spending, along with a strong credit score," Cooke said.

"First home owner grants and concessions on things like stamp duty can do you a huge financial favour, so make sure you take advantage of these if you can."

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