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  1. New research from RP Data has found that 45% of Australian properties are worth at least double their original purchase price - and less than 4% are in negative equity. The research firm's latest Property Equity report has revealed that 45% of Australian properties have doubled in price or more since being purchased. The areas with the highest proportion of homes which have doubled in value are typically located in regional markets where values have moved from a low base and the housing market has seen long-term improvements in housing values, but Melbourne also makes the top performer list - the only capital to do so. “The Melbourne metro area is the exception; it is the only capital city to fall within the top ten list of regions enjoying the largest proportion of homes with more than 100% equity accumulation,” said the report's author, RP Data research head Tim Lawless. The report also shows that just 3.7% of Australian homes are currently valued at a lower amount than the price at which they were purchased. According to Mr Lawless, there is variation between regions, with locations that have recorded a more severe downturn in home values in recent times now recording higher proportions of homes in negative equity. Properties in Far North Queensland and South Eastern Western Australia currently hold the largest proportion of negative equity at 13.5% and 11.2% of all dwellings respectively. He said that other lifestyle markets such as Queensland?s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast also show a large proportion of homes in negative equity. Over the five years to June 2011, capital city home values increased by around 30 per cent and provided a significant wealth boost to most home owners during this period. However, with Australian housing markets softening recently, home values are down 2.7 per cent from their October 2010 peak to June 2011. “Recent buyers who purchased a home during this time have potentially seen the value of their home move below their contract price,” said Lawless. He added that Australia?s residential housing market is now worth an estimated $4.56 trillion - almost four times the value of the Australian equities market ($1.3 trillion, according to the ASX).
  2. The central bank has left the cash rate at 4.5 per cent for a third straight month. "With (economic) growth likely to be close to trend, inflation close to target and the global outlook remaining somewhat uncertain, the board judged this setting of monetary policy to be appropriate," he (Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens) said in a statement. Expectation is that they will still creep up later in the year.
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