Changes to First Home Buyers statistics - under-reporting of the number of first home buyers by financial institutions

Media Statement

First home buyers are people entering the home ownership market for the first time as owner occupiers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has been publishing data on lending to first home buyers since 1991. This data is sourced from Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, which in turn is obtained from lenders. 

However, lenders have been under-reporting the number of first home buyers to APRA. Lenders were reporting only loans extended to first home buyers who had also received a First Home Owner Grant instead of all first home buyers. In 2015, the ABS introduced modelling to adjust for this lender under-reporting. 

The ABS and APRA have been working with the lenders to improve their reporting of lending to first home buyers. As a result, improved reporting from financial institutions has now enabled the ABS to update the first home buyer series, replacing modelled figures with actual figures. 

This revision sees a fall in the number and proportion of first home buyers. Nationally, the proportion of first home buyers for July 2016 has been revised from 14.1 per cent to 13.2 per cent of total lending (including re-financing). 

The below chart and file show how the series has been progressively revised as new data has become available:

  • Until November 2014, the original series was published, which contained anticipated under-reporting;
  • In February 2015, the series was adjusted based on the estimated extent of under-reporting by lenders;
  • The adjustment method was then progressively updated as individual lender reporting improved; and
  • From October 2016, all lenders are now reporting correctly, so an adjustment is no longer required.
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