With median house prices falling by 2.6% in the September quarter, opportunities for first homebuyers are improving significantly according to the Real Estate Institute Australia.

The latest Mortgage Choice/REIA Real Estate Market Facts report showed the national median house prices slipped $12,136 from $459,795 in the June quarter to reach $447,659.

Sydney maintained the highest house price median of any Australian city at $529,000, despite dropping 2.2%. Hobart remained the lowest, at $320,900 after falling 1.3%.
Darwin was the only capital city to see an increase in overall home prices, with its median rising 0.6% to $426,000.

"With falling interest rates and relatively stable property prices, the scene for Australian property buyers is looking brighter. We're seeing a 'buyers market' that has some great opportunities," said Kristy Sheppard, senior corporate affairs manager at Mortgage Choice.

 REIA president Noel Dyett added that for those who are looking to purchase a home, the recently announced increase in the First Home Owners Grant, interest rate cuts and improvement in housing affordability will see the property market continue to improve gradually. "For those who are in a financial position to purchase a home, with the assistance that is currently available, now is an opportune time to enter the housing market."

While house prices have dropped in the September quarter, tight vacancy rates and high demand for rental properties ensured that rents continued to rise in most capital cities. Darwin continues to rack up the highest median rent for a three bedroom houses at $520 a week while Sydney has the highest median rent for a two bedroom other dwelling at $390 per week.