Lower interest sees less stress

THERE'S good news on the housing front, with figures showing mortgage stress has lessened in our region in the wake of recent interest rate cuts.

Statistics compiled by Housing Industry Australia (HIA) claim the number of rural NSW households experiencing mortgage stress has dropped by 40,000 since August, with the new figure attributed to the Reserve Bank slashing official interest rates by 300 basis points since September.

Mortgage stress occurs when a household spends more than 30 per cent of its pre-tax income on mortgage repayments.

HIA chief executive of policy, Chris Lamont, said the drop in mortgage stress provides a much needed lift to the fortunes of households for what is expected to be a tough 2009.

But with the first round of funding for the Federal Government's Housing Affordability Fund (HAF) being rolled out to State and local governments this month, the housing crisis is likely to receive a shot in the arm.

The HAF will invest $512 million over five years to help reduce the cost of building new homes by lowering costs.



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