Market slows, Melbourne grows, Renters’ woes. Research claims Adelaide Bank is the cheapest in Aus

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Vacancy lights turning back on  
Residential vacancies rose during April by 0.3 per cent to 2.3 per cent, the highest vacancy rate recorded in an April by SQM Research since it started tracking the figures in 2005. Levels are above 1.5 per cent in each capital city, a sign that the rental market may to be swinging in favour of tenants. Put that in perspective, however, by remembering that that just a year ago Sydney was at 2.5% and even at that level  it was incredibly hard for tenants to find rentals. Read the full story here.

Auction prices falling for second straight week
RP Data’s recent figures show auction prices in the capitals down 0.9 per cent in the week to Sunday, following an 0.4 per cent drop the previous week. Prices are still up 10.4 per cent for the year, but do the recent drops indicate more than the start of the winter lull? Read the full story here.

Study: using the lowest-priced mortgage provider can save about $5000 a year
Research in the Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money shows that the gap between the top and bottom mortgage provider in Australia is almost 1 percentage point. The research compares 12 years of rate data from 39 Australian lenders. On a $500,000 loan that equates to $94 a week or $4888 a year. Adelaide Bank took top marks in the study, followed by CUA. Arab Bank came last on the list. Read the full story here.

Government inquiry looks at foreign investment: threat to the housing market or an opportunity?
Submissions to the Inquiry into Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate raised concerns about a housing bubble and dirty play in the investment market. Commenters described “unprecedented price pressure on residential property” and “suspicious practices.” Meanwhile, others said the current rules help stimulate development and that foreign investment helps support Australia’s economy. Read the full story here.

Plan Melbourne – a blueprint for the city’s growth – relies on apartments and hope
The plan projects Melbourne’s population will grow to 7.7 million people by 2051, up from 4.3 million today and an increase from the 6.5 million forecast in the draft only seven months ago.  Plan Melbourne states a need for a “clear statement” on a hard municipal boundary (rather than making an actual statement itself, it seems), and the new Metropolitan Planning Authority will implement the new strategy. Read the full story here.

Mortgage insurer Genworth to list on the ASX today at $1.72 billion market cap, $2.65 per share
In the biggest initial public offering for the year to date, Genworth will offer shares. The mortgage insurer holds 45 percent of the market for mortgage insurance. Genworth will raise about $750 million from the float – about a third of its shares. Read the full story here.

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