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    First-home buyers are dominating Australia’s property market for the first time in a decade, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

    Australia posted a 10-year high for first-home buyers in the last quarter, according to REIA’s latest Housing Affordability Report (HAR). The report found a 10-year high for first-home ownership and an overall improvement in housing affordability across the country.

    REIA President Adrian Kelly said that a combination of factors meant that housing affordability was up for those who entered the market during the September quarter.

    Read more: ‘Catastrophic’ housing forecasts won’t come to pass – REIA

    “Market entry has experienced its largest year-on-year increase since 2009 and largest quarterly increase since 2010,” Kelly said. “With a September quarter increase of 36.1%, first-home buyers now make up 40.8% of the owner-occupied dwelling market. This is particularly good news given the large challenges faced by tenants at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    The average loan size to first-home buyers dropped to $406,223 over the quarter, a decrease of 5.4%. However, it was still an increase of 0.8% year over year, according to REIA. Kelly said that first-home buyers were responding to the stable market and historically low interest rates.

    “Banks could do more to further improve affordability by passing on in full interest cuts and help even more Australians buy homes,” he said. “HAR shows us that Australian families experienced a small income increase of 0.5%, while the average loan repayment decreased by 2.5%.”

    Homeowners say affordability has improved, with income-to-loan repayments decreasing 1.1 percentage points to 33.9% over the quarter, REIA reported. However, affordability declined for renters over both the September quarter and the past year, with the proportion of income required to meet rent payments rising by 0.4 percentage points to 23.7%.

    “This is mainly attributed to the increase in rents in a number of capital cities,” Kelly said.

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