Nila Sweeney

Buying a home may not come much easier for first homebuyers - if you still have a steady income and can get the finance.

Record low interest rates, stable if not slipping home prices and government incentives have made now the most affordable time to buy a home in seven years, according to a report by the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The HIA-CBA first home Buyer Affordability Report released this week showed a 14.6% improvement in affordability for the March 2009 quarter, coming on the heels of a 40% surge at the end of 2008.

Over the March quarter, the average home loan repayment fell by 11% to $1,831 per month, significantly lower than the previous amount of $2,056. The HIA said it expected a further improvement in affordability in the June quarter results.

HIA Chief Executive Chris Lamont said the continuation of the government boost to the first homebuyer's grant, providing at least $21,000 or more for new homes across the country, is feeding the market with a steady flow of new buyers encouraged by the incentives.

"The grant...is boosting the supply of housing, which we know to be grossly short of the nation's requirements," said Lamont.

The HIA said the largest improvements in affordability occurred in Hobart, Adelaide and Sydney. All capital cities showed some improvement, however.

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