Aerial view of residential urban sprawl in southern California.

Australians are becoming more confident that housing prices and rental rates will increase in 2013 according to results of a consumer sentiment survey conducted by Nine Rewards and RP Data.

38 per cent of Australians expect that housing prices will rise over the coming six months, with a higher 51 per cent of those surveyed predicting prices will rise over the coming twelve months.

This compares favourably to answers given to the same questions in October last year with a lift of 5% for short term growth and 9% for growth in a years’ time.

A good time to buy

As well as 80% of those surveyed believe this is a good time to buy which reflects a growth in consumer confidence and an increased expectation of growth. Time will tell.

Meanwhile – some data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia indicates that any borrower stuck on a home loan rate in excess of 6% per annum is paying too much.

According to the data, banks have increased their margins on home loans, post-GFC, but the actual rate most borrowers are paying on their outstanding home loan has fallen below 6% for the first time since mid-2009.

Showing that significant discounts to the standard variable rate are being offered by banks. It might be time to renegotiate or switch lenders.

And finally…

Australians borrowed a whopping $200 billion to buy residential property last year and that is just 7 per cent (or $15 billion) less than the 2007/08 market peak.

Owner-residents were the largest buyer segment last year at 44 per cent; followed by investors at 42 per cent; and first-timers at just 14 per cent of the market.

All up, just under one million homes were traded last year.

*Article by Kevin Turner respected independent property commentator of March 23, 2013