In NSW, home loan affordability improved, but it remains the least affordable state in the country - with 35.4% of family income required to pay the average loan. Queensland affordability also increased marginally. Canberra is the most affordable, with the proportion of family income required to pay the average loan dropping from 19.9% to 18.8%. Affordability decreased in Victoria (30.8%) and Western Australia (28.4%). "The situation continues to be very grim for first homebuyers in particular," said Tony Brasier, REIA president. "Only 19.1% of those who borrowed to buy a home in April 2006 were first homebuyers. While this is an improvement on the very low average of 15.1% during the period July 2002 to June 2005, unfortunately the return of first homebuyers to the market has been slow. "The first homebuyer's grant of $7,000 does not even meet the state government's stamp duty bill in some states. The final step in getting real about increasing the number of first homebuyers in the market must be exemptions from stamp duties."

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