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Home buyers lose confidence in Howard.

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Senator Kim Carr Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Housing; Urban Development; Local Government and Territories

08/11/06 87/06

Home buyers lose confidence in Howard New figures out today show home buyers no longer have any confidence in the Howard Government's ability to keep interest rates low and are abandoning the dream of owning a home.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Housing Finance figures for September, the number of home buyers taking on new mortgages fell for the second month in a row.

While there was a small increase in the proportion of first home buyers in the market, at 17.4 per cent it remains almost three points below the long run average of 20.1 per cent.

The proportion of first home buyers in the market has now been below average for almost four and a half years, as young families continue to be locked out of the dream of home ownership.

The Howard Government has lost touch with the reality faced by the young families of middle Australia.

If you think the Howard Government has been good for home ownership, think again.

• If the same proportion of families owned their homes as in 1996, there would be 70,000 more home owners today.

• Using the Prime Minister's preferred measure of affordability - the proportion of income taken up by mortgage payments - the Howard Government is the worst on record. For first home buyers, mortgage affordability is worse today that it was when interest rates were 17 per cent. Average mortgage affordability has been worse under John Howard than it was under Labor.

• Mortgage repossessions are skyrocketing - up 60 per cent in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, and by a third in South Australia.

• The Howard Government’s failure to invest in the future has pushed up inflation and resulted in the fourth interest rate rise since the election - adding nearly $50 dollars to the monthly repayments on a $300,000 mortgage, or an extra $195 a month since John Howard took personal responsibility for interest rates at the last election.

Contrary to their rhetoric John Howard and Peter Costello have made it much harder, not easier for young families to buy even a very modest home. All they ever do is blame the States. That’s not what Labor calls national leadership.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson 0417 142 238.