A tightening in the rental market has spurred a record increase in the number of people planning to invest in the residential property market, a new study shows.
And most of the growth is coming from first-time investors, according to the research by mortgage lender Wizard Home Loans.
The latest survey in Wizard's Tomorrow's Property Investors series found the number of Australians planning to buy a residential investment property in the next 12 months has jumped by 35 per cent.
About 779,000 in the December quarter signalled an intention to buy, as opposed to 577,000 in the September quarter.
Wizard chairman Mark Bouris said almost 60 per cent of the prospective investors were not currently in the market, up from 42 per cent in the previous quarter.
"Our research indicates that borrowers are responding to, and attempting to capitalise on, increasing reports of limited supply of rental accommodation and predictions of sharp increases in rental yields," Mr Bouris said.
He said the study, which was first carried out in 2002 and is based on information from Nielsen Media Research surveys, also revealed that so-called blue-collar workers made up almost half of the increase in the December quarter, with the number lifting to 140,000 from 53,000 in the September period.
Mr Bouris said those in trade and related jobs were taking advantage of the skills shortage and resources boom.
"Those in trade and related occupations are capitalising on the skills shortage and resources boom, and they are making savvy financial choices and attempting to invest their higher wages into long term investments such as property," he said.
Investor demand grew in all states except South Australia and the Northern Territory, with the greatest increase in NSW and the ACT where it surged by more than 80 per cent to 308,000 from 169,000.
The average household income of aspiring buyers grew to $109,500 from $104,700, according to the results.
About 6,000 people took part in the study in the three months to December, 2006.
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