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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr Calwell (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to an address to Melbourne Rotary of 15th April 1970 by R. I. Downing. Ritchie Professor of Research in Economics, University of Melbourne, on the problem of housing finance coupled wilh high interest rates.

(2)   Can he state whether current high interest rates of up to 9 per cent for first class commercial borrowers, with repayment spread over 24 years, places an intolerable and unsupportable burden on would-be home purchasers comprised in the main of young married couples.

(3)   In view of the problems and difficulties associated with obtaining finance for housing in periods of high interest rates, will he take steps to have Professor Downing's paper brought to the attention of the Government.

Mr Bury - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I have seen a report of the address.

(2)   Interest rates on first mortgage housing loans made by major lenders for housing are significantly below 9% - for example, rates charged by savings banks fall within the range 61-7% and rates charged by building societies fall predominantly within the range 6i-7i%, with terminating societies tending to lend at the lower end of the range and permanent societies at the upper end.

(3)   Matters pertaining to the provisions of housing finance are under constant surveillance by the Government and due consideration is given to proposals of the kind put forward in Professor Downing's paper.

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