5609.0.55.003 - Information Paper: Changes to the method of estimating loan commitments to first home buyers , 2015  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/02/2015  First Issue
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4 February 2015
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

ABS to adjust first home buyer loan estimates up 20 per cent after investigation

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released an information paper detailing changes to its method of estimating loans to first home buyers.

This follows the ABS investigation into the accuracy of estimates of loans to first home buyers.

The investigation revealed a degree of under-reporting by some lenders on loans to first home buyers; this was because some lenders were not including figures for first home buyers who did not receive first home owner grants.

"The ABS has published first home buyer loan figures since the early 1990's," said Jacky Hodges from the ABS, "and initially we thought the fall off in first home buyer loans over the last two years was due to reduced affordability arising from changes in grants, rising house prices, increased investment housing loan activity and general economic conditions."

"However, subsequent analysis and follow-up with lenders has confirmed that the drop was partly due to under-reporting by some lenders." said Ms Hodges.

The total value of home lending is separately reported and is not affected.

The ABS is working with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority - which collects the first home buyer loan data for the ABS - to ensure all loans to first home buyers are recorded in the future, regardless of whether they receive a first home owner grant or not.

In the meantime, the ABS will adjust first home buyer data for this under-reporting using estimates based on data provided by lenders that reported correctly.

The ABS information paper released today describes the findings of the investigation, the new methodology and the extent of revisions as well as providing updated spreadsheets of previously published first home buyer statistics.

The Wednesday 11 February release of Housing Finance, Australia (cat. no 5609.0) will use the new methodology.

The information paper Changes to the method of estimating loan commitments to first home buyers (cat.no. 5609.0.55.003) is available on the ABS website www.abs.gov.au.

Media Note:
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.