A June quarter snapshot released by the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) today showed Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong leading the way in property price growth. Meanwhile, vacancy levels in Sydney remained at historic lows, averaging 1.3%.

REINSW president Steve Martin told yourmortgage.com.au that first homebuyers were no longer the main force pushing the market forward. "The catalyst for recovery has been interest rates," he said. "People now are really capitalising on the opportunity of locking into attractive mortgage rates."

Martin agreed that government assistance to first homebuyers had been a success in NSW, but mainly in terms of kickstarting the wider property market. "It's quite contagious," he said. "[It's had] a flow-on effect to second homebuyers and investors, and we'll see the benefit of that over the next 12 months."

Newcastle houses and Wollongong units recovered strongly in the June quarter while Sydney's units and houses achieved gains of 2.63% and 3.02% respectively.