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Owner-occupiers steal the market from investors

By Ben Faulks

Measures to reduce lending to investors were released over a year ago, and analysts have been keeping an eye on the market ever since. The latest housing finance data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) seems to show that the policies are taking effect, as owner-occupiers begin to take back their share of the market.

This bodes well if you've got your eye on Gungahlin real estate. Being able to access a mortgage is the first step to getting onto the ladder for most Australians, so this data might be just the push you need to enter the market.

What the figures show

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) analysed the data to reveal that lending to owner occupiers rose for 18 months to February 2016. Although the latest ABS figures show a slight drop, the group doesn't believe there should be any cause for concern.

"Despite an increase in the value of investment housing commitments in trend terms of 1.1 per cent this follows nine months of falling investor lending in response to the increase in mortgage rates for investors and the strengthening of banks' non-price lending terms," said REIA president Neville Sanders.

The ABS revealed that in March this year, there was a 0.7 per cent fall in the value of housing finance commitments compared to the previous month. Meanwhile the number of dwelling commitments was down 0.2 per cent in trend terms.

First-time buyers made up 14.2 per cent of total lending over the course of the month, which could give you even more incentive to secure yourself a piece of Gungahlin real estate.

Mr Sanders explained that macro prudential measures brought in to restrict investor activity seem to be working. In fact, he said owner occupiers are now "the dominant force" when it comes to stabilising the market – and long may it continue.

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