For a long time, some property market observers have been making the point that first homebuyers aren't being fully captured in the reported data.
However, although we can be certain that this is happening to some extent - with staff at brokerage and mortgage firms having admitted as much - it is not possible to measure the magnitude of the issue.
You can't measure what is not measured, and it remains something of an unknown.
FHB as investors
People are also changing jobs and travelling more frequently and more widely than ever before, which can necessitate moving locations.
Trading properties can incur nasty transaction costs such as stamp duty, legal fees and agent fees, so why not buy and hold an investment instead?
Source: Digital Finance Analytics
This is actually higher than has historically been the case, although one might hope and expect the numbers to increase over time as the population grows.
The surveys conducted by Digital Finance Analytics listed these as some of their main findings:
-the tax-efficient nature of property as an investment is considered very attractive
-the average age of first-time investors is 31 years
-more% than 60% of those surveyed were looking at a long-term buy and hold
-91.5% of investors believe that prices will rise over the next 12 months (presumably explaining why they wanted to get a foothold on the market via an investment property).
I've always felt that the reporting with regards to "first homebuyers" is largely rubbish, since it tends to revise on massive sweeping generalisations.
The term itself covers a huge cross-section of the population, from 18-year-olds leaving home to those more than double the age.
And, as we are seeing in Sydney time and time again, more and more people are electing to rent where they live and buy investment units elsewhere.
It's a trend I expect to see continuing. First home buyers haven't gone missing, they've just moved with the times.