Housing affordability now … is better than 2002?
The Housing Industry Association/Commonwealth Bank Housing Affordability Index released yesterday shows housing affordability is at its most favourable for 12 years. Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart all bucked the affordability trend, but the national trend in the March quarter was 10.8 per cent better than a year ago, due to rock-bottom interest rates and a rise in earnings. Home prices have stopped growing as quickly, as well. The HIA figures showed the biggest capital city affordability improvements were in Sydney(+2.2%) and then Perth (+0.1%). Adelaide was worst with a 4.6% drop in affordability  Read the full story here.

Opinion: Hey, banking upstarts, we can’t afford to bail you out, too
The warnings about an American-style implosion in the mortgage banking sector continue, with a warning that slippage in lending standards may lead to harder rules. “Financiers will argue  bad debts are at historically low levels, in a country where relatively few borrowers default. But market observers are warning that with so many households taking on relatively big debts to buy very high-priced properties, a slump in the market or a rise in interest rates – or both – could create serious problems.” Read the full story here.

Lucky numbers matter to Chinese property investors
The number 64 is about six per cent less valuable than lucky number 66, given the experience of a Sydney agent recently. Simply by changing the address of a house, it sold for half a million above its $8 million asking price. Feng shui, it seems, isn’t just about where to put the sofa. Fun fact: the Chinese word for the number four sounds like the word for “death,” and number eight sounds like “to prosper.” Six sounds like luck. Go figure.

Three signs to get out
Here are three warning signs that the market is overheated and bound to fall. Properties on the main highways start to sell strongly. Stigmatized or weak “dog” properties start to sell strongly. And your real estate agent’s own homes start to sell … at all. When your agent thinks it’s time to sell, perhaps you should, too. Read the full story here.

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