Surge in first home buyers

LATEST housing finance figures show Tasmanian first home buyers are jumping into the market.

Australian Bureau of Statistic figures for March, released yesterday, show 160 first homes were bought, an increase of 102 at the same time last year.

Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Adrian Kelly said it could be explained by the state government's first home buyers grant ending next month.

"It could be that a lot of first home buyers are jumping in before that grant gets removed," Mr Kelly said.

He said the number of people taking up the first home builders boost had also increased.

"It's good to see first home buyers are up, obviously the grant is working" he said.

Mr Kelly said he had a "positive" meeting with Treasury on Monday, and said Treasurer Peter Gutwein would ask Treasury to look into the flow-on effects of first home buyers.

"Then we'll know what the full impact is of taking it [the grant] away," he said.

Housing finance in the state fell slightly for the second straight month, with figures showing a decrease by 0.4 per cent.

There was a 0.1 per cent decline in February, while January's figures were flat.

Nationally, housing finance fell 0.1 per cent in trend terms.

Mr Kelly said this was on par with the mainland states.

"If nothing else, it shows stability in the market," he said.

The figures showed Tasmanians were borrowing on average $223,000 to buy an existing home, and $203,000 to build a new home.

Buying a newly built house was costing an average of $290,000.

Capital city house prices: Page 15

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