Buying vs renting – Buying is the new winner! Falling house prices and lower interest rates have combined to make buying a home much more attractive for first home buyers. New data from ANZ Bank and Corelogic shows that home loan repayments have fallen below average rents in many parts of Australia. ANZ executive Kate Gibson said first home buyers have a great opportunity at the moment to break into the housing market. “For the first time, we’re seeing suburbs and towns in every state where it is more affordable to buy than rent,” said Ms Gibson. The proportion of gross household income that is now required for repayments on an 80 per cent LVR home loan has fallen to 36.1 per cent from a peak of 54.2 per cent in March 2008. It is getting A LOT easier to buy your own home. What percentage of your income do you need to set aside for home loan repayments? The good news is this proportion is going down, according to new data from ANZ Bank and CoreLogic’s Housing Affordability Report. The proportion of gross household income now required to meet repayments on an 80 per cent LVR home loan has fallen to 36.1 per cent (December quarter 2018) from a peak of 54.2 per cent in March 2008. Households buying a freestanding house are spending, on average, 37.4 per cent of their gross income to service an 80 per cent LVR mortgage, while unit (apartment) buyers are spending an average of 33.4 per cent. National home values fell 4.6 per cent in 2018. Get $50 to open a new bank account. Bank of Melbourne is currently promoting a $50 cash back offer for people who open a new Complete Freedom account by 3 July 2019 and deposit $500 within 30 days. Complete Freedom is Bank of Melbourne’s transaction account that comes with a Visa debit card, access to Westpac’s global network of ATMs and no monthly account keeping fees. The $50 cash back is delivered via a deposit into the new account. Students and new customers under 21 need only deposit $250 to get the $50 back. Terms and conditions apply. Melbourne real estate agents jailed. Melbourne real estate agent Truc Thanh Nguyen, also known as Judy Nguyen, has been jailed for 20 months after being convicted of defrauding 11 home buyers in Melbourne of about $800,000 in total. Mrs Nguyen took the money from client’s deposits made to her for the purpose of buying a home. Mrs Nguyen’s husband, Tri Doc Ngo, also known as Joseph Ngo, was jailed for five years in 2018 after pleading guilty to 48 charges and misappropriating about $6.4 million of client’s money. Judy Nguyen and Joseph Ngo ran six L.J.Hooker real estate offices in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Maitland’s Mutual Bank resists cutting savings rates. The Mutual Bank (previously known as Maitland Mutual Building Society) has announced it will pass on the full RBA June rate cut of 0.25 percentage points to borrowers but not to savers. The Mutual Bank’s chief executive Geoff Seccombe said rate cuts present a great opportunity for first home buyers and “welcome relief for struggling homeowners.” Mr Seccombe reassured depositors that there would be no cuts to savings rates. “This movement in home loan rates will not come with any interest rate reductions to savings accounts.” The Mutual Bank also announced that it is axing excess transaction fees on transaction accounts. Are house prices going down or up in 2019? Almost 9 in 10 Aussies are still concerned with the high cost of housing, despite almost two years of falling prices, according to ME’s Quarterly Property Sentiment Report. 32 per cent of respondents expect prices to rise in 2019, 28 per cent are preparing for prices to keep falling while 29 per cent believe prices will remain stable. ME’s Andrew Bartolo said recent falls in home values had not dented the Aussie belief that house prices generally increase over time.