The importance of the First Home Buyer (FHB) segment of the housing market continues to grow. Newly-released finance figures for March show that their share of the market is at its largest in nearly seven years.

FHB loans accounted for 27.6% of owner-occupier housing loans in March, higher than at any time since September 2012. Shane Garrett, chief economist for Master Builders Australia, says FHBs are becoming an increasingly vital driver of activity in the housing market.

“The commitment by the Coalition, that was matched by Labor, to facilitate the low deposit loans for first-time buyers is most welcome,” he says. “This brings home ownership a giant step closer and spares young home-buyers from being forced to waste money on expensive Mortgage Insurance premiums.”

In March FHBs enjoyed the largest share in the Northern Territory, with 43% of owner-occupier housing loans. This was followed by WA (37%), VIC (30%), QLD (27%) and NSW (25%). FHB participation was lowest in TAS (21%), followed by SA (22%) and the ACT (22%).