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2 years of house-hunting: Competition still ‘fierce’ for first home buyers

·2-min read
Composite image of couple buying first home and crowds at an auction.
While most first-time buyers secured a home within 6 months, others took much longer. (Source: Getty)

It can be a long, arduous process to get a foot on the property ladder, with one in five first home buyers taking more than a year to secure a purchase.

For most Aussie buyers (49 per cent), the search took between three and six months, according to a Finder survey.

Another 17 per cent took between seven and 11 months to find their first home. But for others, the process took a lot longer.

The survey of more than 1,000 first home buyers found 8 per cent spent more than two years on the home-buying process.

Interestingly, Gen Z were the quickest generation to secure a sale, with 30 per cent taking three months or less, compared to 28 per cent of Millennials and 17 per cent of Gen X.

While the market was starting to cool off, Finder money expert Sarah Megginson said buyers were still competing fiercely with one another in some areas.

Megginson recommended securing home loan pre-approval to improve your chances.

“With pre-approval, you’ll be considered a preferred buyer,” she said.

“It will also shorten the time to approval once you’ve found a property.”

She reminded buyers that most pre-approvals only lasted three months.

“So, if you haven’t found a property by then you’ll likely need to apply for another one.”

A chart showing the time it has taken first home buyers to buy their first home.
(Source: supplied)

Megginson offered a couple of tips to secure mortgage pre-approval:

  • Compare mortgages and find a suitable lender. Home loan pre-approval lets you shop for property with confidence because it gives you the "green light" from a lender that – provided your situation doesn't change – you're likely to be approved for a home loan.

  • Work out a budget. Get a rough idea of how much you can afford to borrow based on your income, expenses and deposit size. Pre-approval gives you a better idea of how much a lender is willing to lend you, and it's also very useful if you're buying a property at auction, because it gives you a firm upper limit to your bidding.

  • Gather your documents. Organise your mortgage documents to prove your identity, income and employment.

  • Complete the lender's pre-approval process. Keep in mind lenders will issue you a pre-approval that lasts three months. This gives you time to hunt for properties and get your actual application together. The expiry date is usually listed on your pre-approval letter and, once this date lands, you'll need to apply for pre-approval again.

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