First home buyers are getting older

Back in 1970, the average age of first home buyers was 25 years old. These days, it’s closer to 34 in New Zealand, research undertaken by Westpac in 2016 has revealed, while in Australia the average first home buyer age rose from 25 to 31 between 1970 and 2010.

While rising costs and housing affordability are certainly deterrents for first home buyers entering the market, it’s likely this change in first home buyer age is also down to changing demographics, with young people spending longer travelling or working overseas, and getting married and planning families in their mid- to late 30’s.

Government initiatives in both Australia and New Zealand aimed at helping first home buyers onto the property ladder have already proved successful. In Australia, Government is now considering allowing first home buyers access to Superannuation funds to fund first home purchases and cut down on the number of retirees entering retirement with large housing debt. In New Zealand, first home buyers can already withdraw their KiwiSaver savings when buying a first home, provided they meet the necessary criteria.

Stretching debt for longer

At the same time as the average age of first home buyers rising, so too is the typical mortgage term which has stretched from 25 to 30 years, pushing mortgage terms ever closer to retirement age.

A longer payment term is not only a win for banks who get more interest though, it means lower monthly repayments for buyers and the ability to borrow more, something that has become ever increasingly important as house prices continue to rise.

First home buyers who stay in the same property for longer are better able to pay off their debt, despite entering the market later.

So, how old is too old?

The good news is, there is no age limit and lenders cannot discriminate based on a borrower’s age. While lenders are increasingly being held accountable for lending practices, with consumer credit protection acts requiring lenders to verify a customer’s financial situation and their capacity to pay before approving any lending, these lending criteria apply no matter your age.

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, a new home or an investment property, it pays to talk to Best Mortgages today.