Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Australian housing most affordable in seven years

(MELBOURNE) Static house prices and low interest rates have improved housing affordability for first- time buyers, to the best levels in seven years, a survey says.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA)-Commonwealth Bank of Australia housing affordability index for first home buyers rose 22.3 index points in the March quarter to 175.8 points.

'This took housing affordability to levels not seen since 2002,' the report said. 'Further drops in interest rates and moderation in house prices in some regions drove continued improvement in housing affordability,' it added.

Moreover, the index was 69.9 points higher than in Q1 2008 - an improvement of 66 per cent.
HIA CEO Chris Lamont told the Australian Associated Press that despite the current economic conditions, 'there has never been a better time to enter home ownership'.

Mr Lamont said the boost to the first homeowner grant, when combined with significant builder discounts on housing and land packages, had increased the number of people entering the new home market.

'The grant has been highly successful in creating and securing jobs in the residential construction sector,' Mr Lamont said.

'It is also assisting in boosting the supply of housing, which we know to be grossly short of the nation's requirements,' he added.
Among the state capital cities, housing affordability improved most in Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart. -- Bernama

Source: Business Times, 19 May 2009

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