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Australian house prices through roof
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-22 14:49

Australian houses were the least affordable in two decades in the fourth quarter, after prices rose and the central bank increased interest rates.

An index of home affordability fell 5.5 percent to 97.9 in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, according to a report from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Housing Industry Association released in Sydney yesterday.

The index dropped below 100 for the first time since the series began 22 years ago, Bloomberg News reported.

The Reserve Bank of Australia raised borrowing costs three times last year to stem inflation.

Interest rates at a six-year high cooled the housing market, which had been recovering from a 2005 slowdown, and may put a brake on growth in the Asia-Pacific region's fifth-largest economy.

"The combination of rising prices over the quarter and the triple-whammy of higher interest rates has pushed housing out of reach for an increasing number of households," said Simon Tennent, executive director of housing and economics at the Housing Industry Association in Canberra.

The median first-home price climbed four percent to A$376,000 (US$297,000) in the three months ended on December 31.

And the monthly repayment on a typical first-home mortgage climbed 6.3 percent to A$2,332.

Source:Shanghai Daily 
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