Affordability initiatives reignite homebuyer activity

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Falling interest rates and new housing affordability initiatives are stimulating buyer activity in Brisbane and regional Queensland, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

Although housing affordability is at historic lows, REIQ chairman Peter McGrath said that a number of newly–introduced housing affordability initiatives should prompt more first homebuyers to enter the market.

“Lower interest rates, as well as the new first homebuyer stamp duty exemption threshold of $500,000, may encourage more first–time buyers into the market,“ McGrath said.

“The new stamp duty threshold – coupled with the axing of mortgage duty in July this year – provides much–needed savings of up to $9,500 for anyone buying their first home.”

According to the REIQ, many regions across Queensland boasted median house prices under $300,000 within their three most affordable suburbs, as at June 2008.

REIQ figures also show that 35% of all house sales in Queensland in the June quarter were for less than $350,000, and 75% of all sales were for less than $500,000.

The latest ABS housing finance figures also found that in July this year, the average home loan size for Queensland first homebuyers was $255,300.

“What this figure shows is that many first homebuyers are taking into account the current economic environment, including high interest rates, when buying their first home, and [they’re] not over–extending themselves financially,“ McGrath said.

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