License article

Cheaper to buy than rent

NEW government figures have confirmed what real-estate agents have been saying for months - it's prime time for home buyers.

Housing NSW's latest quarterly sales and rental report shows rents have skyrocketed and sale prices have fallen, leading Housing Minister David Borger to urge anyone thinking of buying to take the plunge.

The report is alarming reading for tenants, with rents for two-bedroom units already up 14.3 per cent and expected to keep rising.

Across the Sydney metropolitan area, sales prices slumped by an average of 7.2 per cent with the worst results recorded in Hunters Hill (down 30.5 per cent), Mosman (down 29.5 per cent), Botany Bay (down 16.1 per cent), and Woollahra (down 15 per cent).

Tenants in two-bedroom units in Fairfield, Holroyd, Hurstville and Canterbury copped the biggest rent increases of 21.1 per cent, 18.5 per cent, 17.9 per cent and 16.7 per cent respectively.

Mr Borger said the report, regarded as the definitive guide to the state property market, painted a disturbing picture for anyone trying to rent.


"The report shows that over the 12 months to December 2008 the total rental bonds held in Sydney only increased by 0.3 per cent," Mr Borger said. "With fewer new rental homes coming onto the market and much less turnover in the rental market, there is a danger that rents will continue to rise."

He said more rental properties were needed to reduce the pressure. "There's no doubt that people are in need of more rental properties right across the state," he said. "We need more people moving from private rentals into their own homes and more investors supplying options for renting.

"What's worrying is that 21 of the 43 local government areas (LGAs) in Sydney recorded annual increases of 10 per cent or more, representing over half of the two-bedroom units available in the rental market in Sydney.

"And 22 of the 43 LGAs in Sydney recorded annual increases of 10 per cent or more for three-bedroom houses, representing nearly 70 per cent of the three-bedroom houses available for rent in Sydney. What is needed to help turn things around is more properties coming onto the market for renters.

"I strongly encourage anyone thinking about buying a new home to do so now - with lowering interest rates, a flat market and help from the state and federal Labor governments, Sydney is definitely a buyers' market.

"Our figures show that the sales price of homes in Sydney during 2008 dropped 8.1 per cent for homes and 5.6 per cent for units."

Mr Borger said a State Government program to build and buy up to 9000 new homes for public housing tenants would free up more properties for the private market.

"We have also boosted the amount of money available to first-home buyers - an additional $3000 from the NSW Government, on top of the Federal Government grant, is available until November 10," he said.

State and federal concessions and grants mean first-home buyers are eligible for assistance worth up to $42,000 for a newly built home, and almost $32,000 for an established home.

SALE PRICES RENTALS Sep 07-Sep 08 Dec 07-Dec 08

Rural all dwellings all dwellings

Statistical % change % change


* Cessnock 0.0 11.1

* Kiama -10.9 0.0

* Lake Macquarie -4.5 8.7

* Maitland 7.7 14.3

* Newcastle 0.8 3.8

* Port Stephens -6.1 15.8

* Shellharbour -5.3 15.0

* Wollongong -4.8 8.7

Hunter SD Balance 0.0 11.1

Nowra-Bomaderry 7.5 9.4

Illawarra SD Balance -5.9 8.1

Tweed Heads, Coast -1.2 7.7

Lismore 6.7 13.9

Richmond-Tweed SD

Balance -4.9 10.6

Coffs Harbour 6.0 8.7

Clarence -2.8 11.1

Port Macquarie -3.8 0.0

Hastings 6.7 6.1

Tamworth 0.8 1.4

Northern Slopes -11.0 7.1

Northern Tablelands 8.4 3.2

North Central Plain 4.9 7.7

Dubbo 0.2 9.7

Central Macquarie 23.6 3.3

Macquarie-Barwon 20.5 0.0

Upper Darling -28.1 12.5

Bathurst -4.0 0.0

Orange -0.6 2.7

Central Tablelands 4.3 3.4

Lachlan -10.4 -5.5

Queanbeyan 2.3 6.0

Southern Tablelands -8.3 0.0

Lower South Coast -3.1 0.0

Snowy -5.5 2.9

Wagga Wagga 0.4 15.9

Central Murrumbidgee -8.8 7.1

Lower Murrumbidgee -11.4 -1.6

Albury -2.0 4.8

Upper Murray -22.9 3.6

Central Murray -5.3 3.6

Murray-Darling 44.6 -

Far West -2.1 7.1

Prices are for two-bedroom rental dwellings