Cheap tricks to boost the value of your home

Man doing DIY

Tired houses are a yawn for their occupants and potential buyers when the time comes to sell. We look at some of the simpler ways you can add value and give your home a new lease on life, without turning yours upside down.

Lighten up

Natural light not only makes rooms brighter and appear larger, studies have shown it can make us feel calmer, happier and be more productive. What’s more, daylight is one of the best value additions you can make to your home. For around $800, a skylight or solar tube will light up a small, dim room or hall. Let light into larger spaces by adding a larger skylight, widening windows, replacing a solid door with a glass-paned one or, to really open things up, knocking down a wall. Tearing down walls is obviously the more extreme option but not necessarily as expensive as you might think. Firstly, if it’s not a load-bearing wall (get a licensed builder to check) you could do most of the hard yakka yourself. If the wall is brick or helping hold up your roof, get a professional to remove it. Taking down an average room wall costs around $2,000, but additional structural supports, such as beams, could double that. Even if you do have to fork out extra, you’ll be getting plenty of bang for your buck all day, every day. You’ll be glad you saw the light!

Clear that clutter

Clean, clear spaces in a home are highly sought – perhaps as an antidote for our busy, crowded schedules. Storage is king, but don’t rush to install built-in wardrobes or build a bigger garage. Get ruthless with your clutter, first. Go room to room, cupboard to cupboard, drawer to drawer deciding what should be ditched, donated or doted on. A great rule of thumb for clothes and household items is if you haven’t used it (or seen it) for two years, it’s time to toss it. If, after paring down, you still feel you need extra storage, consider organising the garage. Where once we strewed bikes, tools and boxes of Elton John LPs around our parked cars, garages are now sporting hooks and nooks to clear floor space and keep excess stuff in a most orderly fashion. Hangers and racks to get things off the ground are sold at hardware stores from $20 upwards. Or you can spend $1,000s with a garage fit-out specialist to create a whole new room with maximum storage (and still space for the car).

Lay of the land

No longer just a slab of lawn out front and back, the yard and garden have morphed into our outdoor rooms. If like many of us, you’re not blessed with an eye for design and a green thumb, it’s well worth paying a landscape designer up to $2,000 to scope the layout and specify what plants or structures should go where. You may even save considerably on the design fee – if you don’t mind being a bit of a guinea pig – by getting a referral for a final-year landscape student from a TAFE college. Look to remove trees or other foliage that block light, fix any broken fences or gates, cut back on expansive lawns that need mowing by paving or decking the area instead and create privacy with suitable trees or fencing.

Full frontal

Yes, first impressions really do count! Front doors have never made a grander statement, so consider what your current one is saying about you. If it’s humdrum, look at widening the entrance and fitting it with double doors or one of the new wider, chunkier front doors. Frame your front door with something that says “welcome”, be it a stylish plant in a pot, a tasteful sculpture or a neat path trimmed symmetrically with ground cover plants. You may find your money is best spent even further out front with a driveway make-over. For around $10,000 you can get an old concrete driveway smoothed and stencil-sprayed.

Your own canvas

Perhaps the cheapest and least intrusive way to transform an interior is to repaint. Dark rooms can be made bigger and brighter with the right, light hue, while bland homes can make a bold statement with a striking feature wall. The best thing about painting (or perhaps it’s the worst) is that most of us can tackle at least a wall or two, leaving us with just the cost of paint, rollers, drop-cloths and brushes. Those who don’t have the patience or time will pay up to about $8,000 for a professional to paint an average size home. Whether you go DIY or hire a pro, you should consider spending an hour and about $200 with a colour consultant. They will come to you and, with a designer’s eye, recommend palettes for your various rooms. They generally have preferred painters but, providing you pay for the colourist’s time, they usually don’t mind if you hire someone else or get stuck in yourself.

Touch base

Once you have decided on your action plan, touch base with your broker about how your mortgage is looking and what finance options are available for your proposed renovations. Be they big or small, your broker is more than happy to talk to you about all the options on the table.

Common cents – 50 savvy ways to save

couple using computer

Saving can be simple when you know how. Yes, sacrifice is needed to get ahead but you can also be frugal without being a total scrooge. Follow our 50 tips to sneak more savings into your life.

    1. Talk to me to see if you can save on one of your biggest outlays – your home loan.
    2. Switch all your household lights to energy-efficient globes.
    3. Sell old smart phones on eBay or Gumtree – families with tweens often want second-hand tech vs expensive new. An old iPhone could get you $200 on eBay.
    4. Bag your fruit and vegies at fresh food markets instead of supermarkets.
    5. Review your broadband and mobile plans – do you really need all that data?
    6. Book holidays for off-peak or shoulder periods. Even better, save on accommodation costs by using a holiday housesitting website such as or
    7. MYO breakfast and lunch on work days.
    8. Freeze your credit card. Stick it in a glass of water in the freezer – you’ll need to thaw it to use it, by which time the impulse buy will have passed.
    9. Shop around for better deals on your car, home and health insurances. Time-consuming maybe, but there are big savings to be made.
    10. Love gigs and shows? Sign up to ticket agency and music venue email alerts to keep informed of two-for-one and ticket discount deals.
    11. Try replacing expensive dishwasher tablets with a mix of two tablespoons of Borax combined with two tablespoons of bicarb soda. It’ll clean your dishes and the machine.
    12. Split bulk-buy meat with buddies.
    13. Make sure your dentist, optometrist and physio are among your health fund’s preferred providers.
    14. If flying domestically, save with early morning or late evening flights on weekends or midday flights Monday to Friday.
    15. Take advantage of free community events such as festivals, outdoor fitness classes and open-air movies.
    16. Cancel your cable TV and subscribe to a more affordable streaming service.
    17. Run your dishwasher and pool filter during off-peak energy periods, e.g. after 10pm or before 6am.
    18. Make an agreement that you and your partner won’t spend more than $100 without checking with the other first.
    19. Book your beauty appointments (waxing, pedicure etc) at a training college.
    20. Make a grocery list and stick to it to save on impulse buying (and don’t shop hungry!).
    21. Eat in, but head outside with a picnic blanket to make it a bit special.
    22. Check you’re not paying extra for monthly car and home insurance payments.
    23. Organise a fashion or book swap with friends and co-workers.
    24. Flush less – we use 6 to 18 litres of water every time.
    25. Cook bigger batches of discounted meat and seasonal produce and freeze meals.
    26. Unplug unused appliances and save on standby energy.
    27. Pay your mortgage fortnightly instead of monthly.
    28. The ‘op’ in op shop stands for opportunity – you never know what you might find.
    29. Enjoy a movie night at home with friends.
    30. Grow salad greens and herbs – easy to grow and manage in pots.
    31. Pay your bills on time to avoid penalties.
    32. Give homemade gifts: biscuits, granola, pasta sauce, chutney, jam, cards.
    33. Don’t discount the savings from shopper dockets.
    34. Book quality, three-star hotels for overnight stays – you just need a comfy bed.
    35. Wash and groom your own dog.
    36. Turn your next dinner party into a pot luck.
    37. Say yes to freebies and rewards and create a free email account just to receive deals.
    38. Join the refill revolution with your own water bottle – save money and the environment.
    39. Find a GP that bulk bills.
    40. Dissolve four teaspoons of bicarb soda in one litre of water to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
    41. Buy loose fruit and vegies – snow peas, green beans, spuds – instead of pre-packed.
    42. Never buy a new car.
    43. Give favours instead of gifts – babysitting, mowing, cleaning, painting, car detailing, gardening etc.
    44. Check out your local library for free activities, especially for kids.
    45. Take advantage of sales on staples – laundry powder, shampoo, toilet paper etc. – and buy in bulk.
    46. Tap into any workplace perks e.g. discounts on health insurance, gym memberships, entertainment, accommodation.
    47. Consolidate your credit cards into one low-interest card.
    48. Snuggle under a blanket instead of jacking up the heater.
    49. Plan your meals around supermarket specials.
    50. Exercise without a gym – there are loads of online workouts to help you cancel that membership. Or better still, go for a walk. The dog will love you for it!

RBA cash rate decreased at 1%

The Reserve Bank of Australia decided to once again reduce the official cash rate, this time to 1% in a concentrated effort to boost household spending and the economy in general.

In making the decision to lower rates again this month the RBA has signalled its focus on supporting employment growth as it looks to restore inflation to within its target range and provide further stimulus to the economy.

Interest rates are already at historic lows, and if lenders respond to the RBAs move by slashing their interest rates, there is an even more compelling case for you to review your lending options now.

An AFG broker is here to work through the different rates available from our wide panel of lenders with you and an AFG broker is always available to ensure you have the right financial solution for your current and future circumstances.

If you’d like to have a chat about what today’s news means for you and your finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an AFG broker.

Kitchen renos – All you knead to know to add dough to the value of your house

When it comes to buying a house, the kitchen is one of the most important features home buyers take into consideration.

If your kitchen is more drab than fab, it’s time for a spruce up. Too often when we talk about renovations it can seem overwhelming – too costly, too hard, too time consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s look at some of the things to consider if you decide a kitchen renovation is on the cards.

Get the reno right and guarantee instant appeal for prospective buyers – it could be the thing that clinches the deal.


The kitchen is the heartbeat of the house. You want it to have a character that suits the rest of the interior and blends in with the general theme of the house. If you aren’t confident with your own design ability, invest in an hour with a designer or colour specialist. You might think that their fee is on the high side, but relatively speaking it can be a small expense that could add thousands of dollars to the end result, not to mention save you from hours of confusion! The consultant will come to you, get an idea of your tastes and budget, and create a palette of colours and materials for your kitchen. Think of this person as an inspiration giver.


When slicing and dicing it’s important to have adequate lighting. After all, the only thing you want to chop up is dinner. This, of course, means there are no pesky shadows being cast over the bench, a hot stove or oven. While it’s essential to have good lighting in the kitchen from a practical perspective, it can also have a big impact on the mood of the room so it’s crucial to get it right – lighting plays both a practical and aesthetic role. LED strips are particularly effective as task lighting, especially when placed under a shelf to illuminate the bench beneath.


Having plenty of bench space is a must for anyone who enjoys cooking. It also means you have room for the coffee machine and any of the latest gadgets that heighten your culinary competence. The type of surface you choose can really make a difference to the feel of the room. Whether granite or wood, stone, stainless steel, concrete or laminate, each has its own unique character that can impact the atmosphere you are trying to achieve. Keep in mind that natural benchtops (such as marble and timber) will stain, but this isn’t a bad thing. Over time those marks will build up a beautiful patina that tell a story of hours spent creating delicious food for those you love.


In a world of whiz-bang appliances, surely you can never have too many? But with extra appliances comes the need for adequate storage so your kitchen appears clean and uncluttered. An inbuilt bookshelf is a must to keep all those beautiful cookbooks on display – and at your fingertips too. Deep drawers are a non-negotiable for pots and pans and should be below the bench. A good tip is to make sure they aren’t too wide, so to prevent two people from cooking alongside each other at the bench. Ensure everything below the bench is designated drawer space and all above it, shelves or cupboards – it will look better and adds to the convenience factor. Kick activated drawers on the lowest level are an especially helpful feature. Place your bin drawer as close as possible to where the food preparation will occur for speedy disposal of scraps.

Butler’s pantry

So, you may not have a butler but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the pantry… space allowing. A butler’s pantry is essentially a kitchen within a kitchen and includes a sink, food preparation area and storage for food, appliances and utensils. Great for hiding the dirty dishes after a meal, they are becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

Wine storage

If you appreciate a fine drop, wine racks can add an extra layer of sophistication to your kitchen. There are many novel ways of keeping your bottles of vino stored correctly, including purpose-built kick-activated drawers or island bench cubby holes. And don’t forget the wine fridge – to chill the whites or keep the beer cold – but place it away from the work spaces to separate the food prep action from the tipple seekers.

Extra smart ideas

  • We love the idea of a chalkboard to leave notes and add a touch of creative flair to the hub of the home – for shopping lists, menu dish ideas and kids’ chore reminders.
  • Replacing tired bench stools is an inexpensive way of refreshing the décor – you might want to take it up a notch with the hue of these to inject a pop of colour into an otherwise minimal colour scheme – think bright yellow or pastel pink.
  • If your space is small, consider adding a mirror splashback to help reflect light and create a feeling of openness
  • Don’t forget to position the oven, fridge and sink close to each other for convenient movement between these utilities.

Official RBA cash rate decreased

With the uncertainty of the federal election behind it, the RBA has decided to reduce the official cash rate to 1.25% as it tries to stimulate household spending and the economy. This is the first rate move since August 2016 and I’d like to share some thoughts on why the Reserve Bank of Australia has made this decision.

In making this decision the RBA has taken into account inflation being below its target range of 2-3%, continued pressure on house prices, evidence of rising levels of mortgage stress, a borrowing squeeze in response to the Banking Royal Commission, slow wages growth and continued concerns around the level of under employment.

Lenders continue to review rates independently of the RBA with some making reductions. It is therefore important to review your lending options regularly to ensure they remain the most suitable for your situation. There may be different rates available from our wide panel of lenders and an AFG broker is always available to ensure you have the right financial solution for your current and future circumstances, if you’d like to have a chat about what today’s news means for you and your finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Cash rate remains unchanged at 1.5% for the 29th consecutive time

The RBA has decided to leave the official cash rate unchanged at 1.5% for the 29th consecutive time and we’d like to share some thoughts on why the Reserve Bank of Australia has made this decision.

Only twice before has the RBA elected to drop rates during an election campaign and on both those occasions the incumbent governing party lost the election. Despite inflation falling below its target range of 2-3%, continued falls in house prices, concerns around rising home loan arrears levels, a borrowing squeeze in response to the Banking Royal Commission and slow wages growth it appears the RBA has elected to allow the federal election to run its course before intervening.

With lenders continuing to review rates independently of the RBA, it is important to review your lending options regularly to ensure they remain the most suitable for your situation. There may be different rates available from our wide panel of lenders and an AFG broker is always available to ensure you have the right financial solution for your current and future circumstances.

If you’d like to have a chat about what today’s news means for you and your finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an AFG broker.

The great Australian dream

Is the Great Australian Dream to own your own home over? That’s the question on the lips of Millennials around Australia… and indeed many of their parents who are still providing a roof over the head of these 20-plus somethings.

Owning your own home used to be considered a rite of passage. Finally, you’ve left the parental nest and headed into the big, wide world, ready to stand on your own two feet and build a new life for yourself as you learn to ‘adult’.

So, when did it become less of a right and more of a privilege?

Millennials, or Gen Ys, are finding stepping on to the property ladder is becoming increasingly more difficult as buying a house seems less of a ‘great dream’ and more of a ‘distressing nightmare’, especially as saving a deposit just gets harder and harder with the cost of living continuing to rise and wages stagnating.

And even if you do save enough to put a deposit down, it’s rarely on a three-bedroom house with a decent-sized block.

In fact, apartment living in the urban setting has become a global trend1 as owning an actual house remains out of reach for the younger generation and first home buyers.

Then there’s out-of-cycle interest rate rises by three of the four major banks (and some smaller lenders), lenders very wary of some areas where over-supply is an issue and considered high risk and also introducing lower loan-to-value ratio (LVR) mortgages for new units in some suburbs, and lenders becoming more selective about who to loan to in terms of household income and the ability to make repayments, thereby limiting borrowing capacity.

Let’s not forget that wages have not risen alongside CPI but everything else under the sun has. Did you know the cost of living in Australia is 2.49 per cent higher than in United States but rent is 8.64 per cent lower2? Of course, this all depends on where you are living. Sydney and Melbourne are often cited as being the most expensive cities in Australia. The ABS Living Cost Index also shows a rise of around 2.3 per cent in the cost of living in the June quarter.3

Tighter lending restrictions imposed by some lenders means Gen Ys now generally need to save a hefty sum before they can even think about signing a contract.

And the ramifications of that are that children are living at home longer or parents, if they can afford it, are sacrificing their retirement nest eggs and bankrolling the kids to help them attain the dream behind the ‘white picket fence’.

In fact, according to the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey4, there has been a rise in the number of renters, particularly in the younger age groups. Between 2001-2004 and 2013-2016, home ownership for 35-44 age group fell by 5.2 per cent and for the age group 18-24 fell by 5.9 per cent. The overall figure across all age groups fell by 3.7 per cent.

The good news, however, is the Federal Government’s First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme, which was introduced in 2000 to offset the effect of the GST on home ownership, is still up and running, administered by each state or territory under their own legislation. For more information on the scheme in your state or territory, visit:

There are also other ways to enter the market. ‘Rentvesting’ has become popular with the younger generation, enabling them to buy an investment property in a location they can afford, but renting where they want to live for work and play.

While this is good in theory – given investment properties at the moment enjoy such perks as negative gearing, tax deductions and rental income – a number of lenders have restricted lending in some of these areas due to potential oversupply issues. With the Federal elections looming and the very strong likelihood Labor will be voted in, all this could change as they propose to limit negative gearing to new dwellings and halve the capital gains tax discount from the current 50 per cent to 25 per cent.

Meanwhile, others have either stopped or restricted interest-only loans, meaning servicing the loan has become harder. This is where I can help: a broker is able to let you know which lenders are lending and what their requirements are.

First home buyers make up 18.0 per cent of the market5 but unless there is affordable property for them to buy that figure is likely to decline.

The answer could well lie with governments ensuring the middle rings of major cities, along transport hubs and close to schools and other amenities, are opened up to enable more dwelling supply. This means rezoning transport corridors to ensure easy access to employment centres, although with huge population increases on the horizon (Australia’s population has just hit the 25 million mark and is expected to be close to 28 million in 10 years’ time6) the difference it might make is questionable at best.

On a positive note, some states have implemented, or are looking at doing so, measures such as the release of greenfield land and speeding up the planning and approval processes for developments.

But how much can the Millennial really rely on these policies?

What does immediately work in their favour is the number of options they have when it comes to choosing a lending package that best suits their needs. There’s plenty out there and a broker will be able to provide them with all the information they need to buy their first home away from home.

And if Mum and Dad can put up with them just a little bit longer (bonus points for doing your own washing, cleaning and cooking) then there’s every chance that deposit is not as far away as it seems… and that dream can become a reality.

Cash rate remains unchanged at 1.5% for the 28th consecutive time

The RBA has decided to leave the official cash rate unchanged at 1.5% for the 28th consecutive time and we’d like to share some thoughts on why the Reserve Bank of Australia has made this decision.

Following its February meeting, the RBA said the case for the next rate move to be a decrease was now almost equal to the case for an increase and that it would continue to watch the economy closely for signs around its key objectives of decreasing unemployment and increasing inflation. It will also be watching property markets, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, very closely as prices continue to fall.

With lenders continuing to review rates independently of the RBA, it is important to review your lending options regularly to ensure they remain the most suitable for your situation. There may be different rates available from our wide panel of lenders and an AFG broker is always available to ensure you have the right financial solution for your current and future circumstances.

If you’d like to have a chat about what today’s news means for you and your finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an AFG broker.

National property pulse check – What’s happening in your area?

If Dorothea Mackellar was here today she might replace her famous poetry line about “ragged mountain ranges” with one about the country’s home price ranges. Just like our natural geography, the nation’s property landscape is one of contrasts.

Predicting which markets are on the up and which are heading south is never an exact science and nobody can claim to have a crystal ball. But there are plenty of economic indicators painting a picture of market movements.

Haven casts its eye around the country to check out property performance in our states, territories and capital cities.

New South Wales

After sitting at the top of the charts in recent years (an 85 per cent surge since 2013!), the Sydney market is finally off the boil and predicted by BIS Oxford Economic to have the slowest growth among capital cities in the next three years (3 per cent). But it’s not all doom and gloom with a strong jobs market, population growth and a robust economy expected to keep things buoyant.

Not surprisingly, the hottest Sydney barbie topic is the escape plan, as those feeling the property pinch look for greener regional or interstate pastures. The exodus has been helped along by the $750,000 stamp duty concession ceiling, which seems generous but not in a market with a median price of $1.1 million.

A couple of hours up the Pacific Highway, Newcastle – once dependent on mining and steel production – is a growing and diverse, self-sufficient economy, now luring Sydney-siders. Similarly, Wollongong to the south offers mortgage relief, plus job, study and vibrant social prospects.

The good news for homesick Sydney-siders is that both these hubs are within two hours of the capital.


After crawling along in recent years, Brisbane is once again having its moment in the sun – 238 days of sunshine each year, to be precise. The Queensland capital is forecast to have the country’s biggest surge (13 per cent) over the next three years.

Despite a much-publicised oversupply of inner-city apartments, Brisbane property prospects are bright. Game-changing investment in tourism and transport infrastructure, a precinct plan to disperse jobs beyond the CBD and interstate migration are just some of the factors contributing to Brisbane’s appeal.

The Gold Coast is expected to maintain a post-Games glow as it continues to position itself as more than a holiday destination, while the Sunshine Coast is also predicted to experience long-term capital growth on the back of increased infrastructure. Further north, Townsville’s $2 billion investment in mining, military and port projects is boosting its local economy and property market.


While not quite as phenomenal as Sydney’s surge, Victoria’s capital has gone gang-busters in the last five years (65 per cent growth). And while the market has slowed considerably with investors cooling their heels (especially over apartments), strong overseas and interstate migration is predicted to fuel the owner-occupier market and drive moderate 6 per cent growth over the next three years.

Satellite hubs Ballarat and Geelong are not just within striking distance of Melbourne but growing increasingly self-sufficient as they transform their industrial roots into new jobs and capitalise on more relaxed lifestyles. Geelong is one of the fastest growing regional property markets in Australia (10 per cent), while pundits have described Ballarat’s revival as its second gold rush.

Northern Territory

The Top End hasn’t quite lived up to its name, slumping 19 per cent over the past four years after rising and falling on the back of the resources sector. The Territory’s capital has been left with a housing glut, which may not be corrected until closer to 2021. Interestingly though, while capital gains have gone south, Darwin rental yields are defying the oversupply, remaining among the country’s strongest at 5.8 per cent.

The most sparsely populated of our states and territories, the Northern Territory doesn’t have many hubs outside of its capital. Darwin’s secondary city Palmerston relies on Darwin’s economy for its success so has suffered the same resources slide.

Alice Springs, on the other hand, could be the Territory’s best-kept secret, thanks to a housing policy change for employees at the nearby US Pine Gap spy base. Employees, who used to have housing supplied, are now required to rent or buy themselves, driving sales up and rental vacancies down.

Western Australia

Patience might be the key to Perth’s market, which looks like it is finally bottoming out after sliding with the resources sector. There are mixed predictions for the next few years. Some market gazers tip further, minor dips, while others claim the economy is rebounding with strong jobs growth and increasing export demands.

Nowhere has the mining slump been felt more keenly than regional Western Australia. The brunt has also been borne by non-mining towns, including Bunbury and Broome, but green shoots are peeking through. Bunbury is looking to shed its image as just an industrial port with investment in waterfront, lifestyle precincts and a digital economy. Broome, once dependent on its pearl industry, is looking to capitalise on food production. How Western Australia diversifies and sheds its reliance on mining will have a big impact on its regional economies and property markets.

South Australia

Holden shutting shop in the city’s north last year cast an economic shadow over the city of churches. But it’s set to be something of a quiet achiever, with shipbuilding set to fill the Commodore-shaped hole. BIS Oxford Economics predicts 9 per cent property price growth for Adelaide over the next three years.

Investors, however, might be less enamoured. Weekly rental returns are among the nation’s lowest for a capital city – and going backwards, while rents in the rest of the country are on the rise.

Despite struggling with an energy crisis and the ripple effects of the auto industry shutdown, South Australia’s economy is growing at its fastest rate in a decade.

Ironically, the electricity fiasco sparked investment in new energy infrastructure and exploration, while its mining sector has defied the downturn of other states, thanks to uranium prospects and hydrocarbons.

The benefits seem yet to flow through to property prices in regional centres but rents in South Australia’s outback have been on the rise, with returns sitting at about 7 per cent.


Hobart, long-overlooked as a property play, is now turning heads. The Apple Isle’s capital is currently the country’s strongest market, with 35 per cent growth in the past three years. Affordability has no doubt been a factor – at $485,000, Hobart’s median house price is a fraction of Sydney’s and about half of Melbourne’s. But so too has its hipster, foodie and culture cred, fuelled by its much-lauded Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) and increased tourism. Traditionally an owner-occupier market because it was so cheap, Hobart now has a shortage of rentals.


In a state as small as Tasmania, it’s not surprising the capital’s surge has overflowed to regional centres. Sentiment is particularly optimistic in the north, with Launceston hitting record numbers of house sales early this year. Despite talk of the Tassie market peaking, there are still bargains to be had. The West Coast remained the most affordable region with a median house price of just $80,000.

Australian Capital Territory

Our nation’s politicians would love to poll as optimistically as our country’s capital. Second to only Brisbane in growth predictions, the Canberra housing market looks set to rise 10 per cent over the next three years.

The rental market also remains one of the country’s steadiest and strongest (its average weekly rent of $528 sits just behind Sydney’s $582), thanks largely to its government-centric employment and higher-than-average wages.

Cash rate unchanged at 1.5% for the 27th consecutive time

As financial markets digest the findings of the Banking Royal Commission, the Reserve Bank of Australia has made its first rate announcement for 2019. The RBA has decided to leave the official cash rate unchanged at 1.5% for the 27th consecutive time.

The RBA continues to balance the worrying parts of the economy – inflation dipping below its target range of 2-3%, falling house prices, a borrowing squeeze in response to the Royal Commission, slow wages growth and negative consumer and small business sentiment with the more positive aspects of strong infrastructure spending, increased export earnings and stable employment figures.

With lenders continuing to review rates independently of the RBA, it is important to review your lending options regularly to ensure they remain the most suitable for your situation. There may be different rates available from our wide panel of lenders and an AFG broker is always available to ensure you have the right financial solution for your current and future circumstances.

If you’d like to have a chat about what today’s news means for you and your finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an AFG broker.