• Jordan Chong 
  • From:AAP 
  • September 26, 2012

HOME owners and buyers are feeling increasingly confident about the property market thanks to recent interest rate cuts, stagnant house prices and wage rises.

The latest Genworth Homebuyer Confidence index, which measures sentiment among those who own or are thinking of buying a property, rose 2.1 index points to 98.4 points in September.

The result was the second-highest since the survey began in 2007.

Moreover, 49 per cent of respondents said now was a good time to buy a home, compared with 39 per cent in March.

Genworth chief executive Ellie Comerford said the survey was closely tied to the recent interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and lenders.

The RBA has delivered 75 basis points worth of cuts since March and some economists believe more are on the way.

“When we look at our index, it really does respond to the RBA cash rate,” Ms Comerford told reporters on Wednesday.

“Consumer sentiment really is moving in the right direction.”

The survey’s measures of mortgage stress fell in September.

Nearly a fifth said they expected to have difficulty meeting their repayments in the next 12 months, while 18 per cent had struggled meeting repayments in the past year.

This was down from 22 per cent for both categories in the March survey.

The survey of 2,000 adults was conducted by research company RFi.

Figures from the RBA’s financial stability review, published on Tuesday, showed about half of all mortgage holders were ahead of schedule on their repayments.

First home buyers were also feeling a little more upbeat, given average loan sizes in this part of the market increased to $289,400 in September, from $283,100 in March.

Meanwhile, a report from Real Estate Institute of NSW said the median house price in Sydney had fallen five per cent in the 12 months to June 2012.

However, property prices in Australia’s most populous state were flat in the three months to June.

REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said properties in Sydney had become “slightly more affordable” in the past 12 months.

“In the main this reflects the ongoing downward drift in prices since 2010,” Mr McKibbin said in the report.

READ MORE: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breaking-news/homebuyers-more-upbeat/story-e6frg12u-1226481878226