Drops in home price growth, family housing spared in means test for pensions

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Sydney’s home price growth cut in half through first three months of 2014
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released Tuesday show that house price growth dropped to 2.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, from 5.4 per cent through the last three months of 2013.  Apartment price growth also fell, from 4.1 per cent in December to 2 per cent this year. Read the full story here.

Queensland price appreciation half of Sydney’s over the last 12 months.
While Sydney house prices are up 15.7 per cent for the last 12 months, Brisbane is up a milder 6.1 per cent. An economist described Queensland as only just seeing the signs of a recovery starting to develop, without the strong property price growth of Sydney and Melbourne. Read the full story here.

Melbourne also cooling off
ABS showed prices in Melbourne grew 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, a drop from 3.4 per cent over the December quarter. The average size of home loans also fell by 2.9 per cent. Since interest rates are about as low as they can get, market watchers think home prices may be reaching a plateau, simply because affordability has become an issue. Read the full story here.

No home ownership means testing or negative gearing changes in federal budget
Fears that family homes would be means tested for the aged pension did not materialize in the budget released yesterday. Neither did changes to the tax treatment for negative gearing – a $6 billion a year revenue loss in taxes. Projections for rising unemployment may have kept property out of the firing line. Read the full story here.

Western Australia considers abolishing regulations on agent and valuers fees
A proposal to end the fixed maximum amount settlement agents and land valuers are able to charge has drawn a call for comment by Consumer Protection. Western Australia is the only state with a cap on fees. Competition would keep charges low for consumers, the chief of Consumer Protection argues. Read the full story here.

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