Owner occupiers are driving the mortgage market and first home buyers are back at open houses and auctions in droves. New home loan sales were up 2 per cent in October 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Lending to owner occupiers was up 2.2 per cent and first home buyers represented almost a third of the owner-occupier market, excluding refinancers. New lending to property investors was up 1.4 per cent in October but down 9.7 per cent over the year. Now easier to afford a home. Housing affordability seems to be improving in Australia. Last month, CoreLogic's Property Pulse study indicated that, over the last 10 years, housing costs have risen at the same pace as incomes. This was good news for homebuyers as it is now easier to pay off their homes, especially with interest rates are at record lows. And high end properties in Sydney and Melbourne have bounced back. “The RBA’s interest rate cuts, loosening of credit restrictions, significant improvement in buyer confidence and increased auction clearance rates provide strong indications regarding these markets,” says RiskWise Property Research CEO Doron Peleg. “Buyer sentiment in relation to housing measures has noticeably improved and the Westpac-Melbourne Institute’s House Price Expectations and Time to Buy a Dwelling Indices show a consistent trend. “Auction clearance rates have recovered and are above 70 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne. “As we predicted immediately after the election and in our previous Risks & Opportunities Reports, the market has materially improved with affordable areas that have shown resilience recovering well. Other areas, including lucrative ones that experienced strong price reductions, are now leading the way to this recovery.” The following chart from Westpac highlights consumer confidence in the property market with housing finance approvals increasing: High-end properties are far more sensitive to credit restrictions. On the other hand, properties at the lower end of the scale are subject to less restrictions and could provide excellent buying opportunities. “Lower-end properties are less subject to credit restrictions and investor activity which actually make them a great buying opportunity. In fact, in some cases areas, such as Geelong, even benefited from the lending restrictions as buyers looked for more affordable options,” Peleg said. High crime areas ripe for gentrification are areas to look out for. Due diligence applies. There are certainly bargains to be had if you look in the right areas. See what areas you can afford here. Keep up to date with the latest interest rates outlook for Australia at InfoChoice. Compare home loans from Australia’s banks and other lenders at InfoChoice. This article is not financial advice and is not written by a financial adviser. The products and information in this article are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market and influenced by a range of factors including interest rates, product costs and commercial and sponsorship arrangements InfoChoice compares financial products from 145 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in Australia. InfoChoice does not compare every product in the market. Some institutions may have a commercial partnership with InfoChoice. Rates are provided by partners and taken from financial institutions websites. We believe all information to be accurate on the date published. InfoChoice strives to update and keep information as accurate as possible. The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Do not interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.