The latest REIA Housing Affordability Report showed that the proportion of median family income required to meet average loan repayments has dropped to 29.4% over the June quarter – the best level since June 2009.

“Most states and territories saw improvements in housing affordability,” said Neville Sanders, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

He noted that this could have been the result of favourable interest rates and modest income rises.

Victoria recorded the greatest improvement among all the states, with the proportion of income needed to meet average monthly loan repayments dropping by 1.7% to 31%. Only the Australian Capital Territory saw a decline this quarter, while both New South Wales and Queensland recorded no change.

Rental affordability also improved, with the proportion of median family income required to meet median rents dropping from 25.1% to 24.8%. The Northern Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania saw the most improvement across the country.

“The lending figures show that owner-occupiers are the dominant force in the moderating market in which the growth of investor activity has abated following the introduction of macro-prudential measures,” said Sanders.

However, he lamented the continued decline of the number of first home buyers entering the Australian property market.

“Disappointingly, the proportion of first home buyers appears to be on a downward spiral and is at its lowest for over two decades,” said Sanders.