Chris Childs

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Buyers get on property ladder: HIA

Housing affordability is at a near two year high, with buyers in Brisbane leading the charge toward home ownership as residents from other capital cities lag behind.New figures released yesterday (February 27) show that in the three month period to December 2011, the HIA-Commonwealth Bank Housing Affordability Index increased by 2.2 per cent.Based on these results December 2011 marked the fourth consecutive rise in this area – and according to the HIA the results are no accident.The organisation cited wage growth and the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut interest rates as influencing factors.“A decrease in mortgage lending rates and continued earnings growth more than offset a modest increase in the median dwelling price to further improve housing affordability in the December 2011 quarter,” explained HIA senior economist Andrew Harvey.Improvements to housing affordability were felt across the country, with an overall increase of 8.3 per cent in 2011, according to Mr Harvey.But the stand-out performer was none other than Brisbane, which saw an overall housing affordability improvement of 7.9 per cent.With the notable exception of Adelaide – the city recoded a decline of 3.6 per cent – housing affordability improved across the nation’s most populous regions.In Sydney, the HIA index rose by 3.5 per cent, Melbourne witnessed a 4.6 per gain, while Canberra and Hobart also rose by considerable margins.Many of the results were so positive that experts have started to talk about the possibility of a “market revival”, placing the final nail in the coffin when it comes to the economic impact of the GFC on housing.“The 2.1 per cent increase in new home lending in the month of December 2011 suggests the potential of a modest revival in the lending market,” said Mr Harvey.This means that 2012 may be shaping up as a great year for those wanting to enter the real estate market.The strong result may also encourage buyers to look for properties in Brisbane ahead of other cities.