Now is the time to invest

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Various economic pieces have fallen into place to make now an ideal time to invest in residential property - especially for current renters - said a real estate agency executive.

Laing+Simmons general  manager Leanne Pilkington said low interest rates, softened home prices and rising rents all added up to a solid case for buying property now. The caveat is that unemployment rates are also rising, meaning the timing might not work for everyone.

"For people in stable employment, the timing is ideal to break out of the rental cycle and secure a first home, upgrade or even buy an investment property," she stated.

Pilkington cited ABS statistics showing that rents increased 8.4% over the past year. Housing shortages, too - especially in the largest capital cities - have many experts predicting even more rent increases over the next year at least.

According to various reports, investors haven't been as keen as first homebuyers to jump into the market in the earliest months of 2009, but Pilkington said that should change once the government grant incentives run out.

"Evidence from Laing+Simmons' agents across Sydney suggests that investors will make a more marked return to the market in the second half of the year, when competition from first homebuyers may well diminish if the increased grants end," she said.

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