Financial barriers still an obstacle for hungry home hunters

Australians still believe owning a property is fulfilling the Australian dream, and are stopping at no lengths to try and enter the property market where possible despite soaring costs, according to a new report from Westpac.

Westpac's 2016 Home Ownership report found 87 per cent of Australians, or nine in 10, believed that owning a home was important and reflected stability, financial security and sense of achievement. Eighty-six per cent of survey respondents agreed home ownership was a pathway to wealth, while 79 per cent saw it as a direct indicator of life success.

Despite the high expense costs of owning a property, 44 per cent of first home owners who purchased an investment property did so on the sole assumption they would otherwise fail to enter the market at a later point. Westpac group head of home ownership, Chris Screen, said that affordability remained the strongest barrier, with 40 per cent of home owners severly challenged by general home-owning costs in the 24-month period after purchase.

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"As the Australian property market becomes increasingly tough, first home buyers are looking for different ways to achieve their home ownership dream," Screen said.

"There's a lot to consider when purchasing a home... buyers do not consider the expenses they will incur."

Despite the challenging market, the survey indicated that Australians still felt positive about home ownership, with 68 per cent of first home buyers touting it the first step to a happy family life.

Home loan affordability was identified as the most common challenge in the lead-up to the purchase of a first home, ahead of difficulty saving a deposit (29 per cent).

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