Western Sydney’s growth corridors have become the top draw for first homebuyers due to the abundance of new housing eligible for government grants and discounts.
Online search trends over the past year revealed suburbs such as Schofields, Box Hill, Marsden Park and Quakers Hill were among the areas attracting the most first homebuyer inquiries last year.
First homebuyers also targeted Oran Park, Leppington, Edmondson Park and Gregory Hills in Sydney’s rapidly growing southwest, according to the realestate.com.au data.
These suburbs were all rich with new housing estates and the bulk of newly built or under construction homes were priced well under $1 million.
This meant the houses were eligible for government first homebuyer incentives, including discounts or exemptions on stamp duty and HomeBuilder, among others.
Many of the support packages were available before the pandemic hit last year but were bumped up in the early days of the outbreak to stimulate demand.
HomeBuilder will expire at the end of March, while discounts on stamp duty will be reduced from August.
The impact of government support packages was also evident in the unit market, the realestate.com.au figures showed.
Parramatta, where developers have released a slew of new apartments, was the most searched suburb for first-time unit buyers.
There was a similar surge in first homebuyer interest in Liverpool and Blacktown, which also had a significant pipeline of new unit projects.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said space may have influenced homebuyer location preferences just as much as government incentives.
Buyers were generally prioritising greater space and larger homes, particularly those with backyards, after spending much of the year in isolation at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
Houses with backyards tended to be priced well above $1 million within a 20km radius of the CBD, but could be snapped up for under $650,000 in pockets of Campbelltown and Penrith.
Buyer’s advocate and Binvested founder Nathan Birch said buyers could generally eek out better price deals in Western Sydney because there was more housing available.
Getting a discount was difficult in the current market but agents tended to be more receptive to lower offers if the buyer was serious and organised, Mr Birch said.
“Agents get tired of dealing with people who um and ah about whether they are interested,” he said.
“If you can make it easy for them, if you say ‘I’ve got the deposit, I’ll pay now’, if you can close them on the terms, your offer will be more appealing.”