Elite AgentOpinion

Scare mongering the enemy of first home buyers: Andrew Cocks

Richardson and Wrench Managing Director Andrew Cocks discusses the falling numbers of first home buyers, suggesting the scare tactics woven through political declarations and agendas are to blame.

The many measures adopted to encourage more first home buyers into the property market have so far failed to produce the upswing that everybody had hoped for, leaving many to wonder if there is a solution to the declining rates of home ownership.

But put yourself in the shoes of those contemplating the big step into a lifetime mortgage and there should be no surprises. There is so much uncertainty swirling around property which only serves to discourage first home buyers from making the most important financial decision of their lives.

We all know that certainty is crucial to future planning, whether in business, life or real estate. And some of the negative sentiments that are getting an airing along with the always-on electioneering and point scoring do nothing to engender confidence.

Doomsayers who predict catastrophic falls in property values, despite ample evidence to the contrary, make for scary reading. The forensic examination of every Reserve Bank statement, looking for hints of an interest rate rise, can be equally misleading and off-putting.

You have to read deep and wide to find a rational voice in this debate and that is difficult when people who should know better seek to exploit a complex problem for political gain.

The Greens announced their war on home ownership nearly two weeks ago with a party platform to strip away capital gains tax exemptions and negative gearing. Never mind that negative gearing is the vehicle that many first home buyers are relying upon to get their foot on the property ladder.

But Labor’s  declaration that they are going into election mode to be ready for the gift that might arise from the citizenship mess that has embroiled so many politicians, is the real worry.

In the last election, Labor singled out property for special treatment as an investment class, grandfathering their own investment property portfolios but depriving future owners of the same benefits. Is it possible to be any more cynical or self-interested? At least the Greens had the decency to share the pain.

In an environment where many politicians, including those who would be in power in a change of government, have a stated policy intention to reduce property prices, it is hardly surprising that many potential first home buyers are sitting on their hands.

This attack on property investment is rolled out under the banner of equality, purported to enable more people to experience the financial and emotional security that comes with home ownership.

However the effect, in the here and now, is that it adds another level of uncertainty for those who might otherwise take advantage of historic low interest rates and the government stamp duty concessions that have been broadened to encompass both new and second hand homes.

Anybody who can remember the heart-palpitating moment when they bought their first home will know that it was the best decision they ever made. Young people do not need to have their considered decision-making undermined by well-heeled politicians and commentators pursuing their own personal or political agendas.

If it’s equality we’re after, let’s play fair and leave off the scare tactics.

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Andrew Cocks

Andrew Cocks is the owner and Managing Director of Richardson & Wrench and a Licenced Real Estate Agent. For more information visit randw.com.au

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