Hottest markets’ prices set to moderate this year
Many analysts are predicting that 2015 will see a moderation of property prices in parts of Australia which could be better news for first-home buyers. However a forecast of 5 per cent growth nationally belies the pockets of growth which may make some of the more affordable areas less so and intensify the high prices in others. Figures from CoreLogic RP Data show a 7.9 per cent growth in prices in the capital cities in 2014 with Sydney soaring 12.4 per cent, a situation that could well continue through 2015 in some of the city’s suburbs. Those buying in Queensland’s capital may have to cope with shaper rises though. Brisbane’s prices rose 4.8 per cent in 2014 but the outlook is for that to more than double to 10 per cent in some inner-city suburbs.  For the greater metropolitan areas median prices will rise anywhere from 7 per cent in Sydney to around zero in Canberra.

More homeowners seek help with mortgage payments
Despite the record low interest rates there is an increase in those asking welfare services for help with home loan repayments. With unemployment hitting the highest rate for 12 years last November and the outlook for joblessness to rise, there are concerns that many more will struggle with payments. However, increased unemployment could mean a further cut in interest rates from the current 2.5 per cent. The issues being faced by low-income families highlight the importance of answering the question “how much can I borrow?” honestly and not over-stretching your budget.

Perth future includes eco-friendly options
Perth should have a future as one of the most environmentally-friendly cities if market research translates into reality. The research has been commissioned by the Conservation Council of WA, working in partnership with the Property Council of Australia and leading property developer Psaros, in order to understand community attitudes to the future development of Perth. The study found that residents in WA’s capital want eco-friendly apartments, sustainable transport options and cycling infrastructure. Apartments and townhouses were by far the preference of respondents who said that would be happy for taller developments near transport links and that they do not see a separate house and garden as being preferable to inner-city living. Joe Lenzo, Property Council of Australia Executive Director said “the property sector has an enormous role to play in the creation of a sustainable future. With the right planning and policy support from state and local government, we will be able to create a built environment that caters for the needs and wants of the current and future Perth community.”