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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.



Sand set to fly at foreshores

PICTURE PERFECT: Plant life is about to come alive in the dunes near the Jetty boardwalk with the public asked to observe exclusions.

Work to begin again on revegetation of the dunes at Jetty Foreshores

Graduate nurses and midwives

ALL IN BLUE: Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser and MNCLHD board chairman Warren Grimshaw meet some of the new graduates at the CHHC simulation centre.

COFFS Harbour Health Campus 32 graduate nurses and midwives

Need a break from the daily grind?

PRIZE HOLIDAY: A $1000 travel voucher is up for grabs.

Would a $1000 Flight Centre gift card help?

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