CANBERRA, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Michael Sukkar, Australia's housing minister, has urged young Australians to buy their first home as soon as possible, forecasting an increase in housing prices.
Speaking to News Corp Australia, Sukkar said that people who were thinking about entering the market should do so before the government's First Home Loan Deposit Scheme launches on Jan. 1, 2020.
The scheme, which was one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's major election promises, will allow eligible first-time buyers to purchase a house with a 5-percent deposit, half the current minimum 10 percent and one quarter of the 20 percent recommended by the nation's banks.
"If you've got an opportunity to get a foot in the market before then you should take it, given I think the market is starting to improve," Sukkar said.
"We're seeing green shoots in Melbourne and Sydney in the last quarter and I think with low interest rates, with Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) reducing service-ability buffers, all those factors combine to confirm that optimism."
The scheme will initially be limited to 10,000 first home buyers but Sukkar said he was open to expanding it "because it'll mean the scheme has turned out to be a success and there's something there's been a lot of demand for."
Australia's property market has been in a slump for two years with prices in Sydney and Melbourne - the nation's two biggest markets - stagnating.
However, data released by property firm CoreLogic at the start of July revealed that dwelling values in both cities rose in June - their first monthly increase since 2017.
According to a report released by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on Wednesday, 91 percent of first-home buyers thought owning a home was within reach, up from 80 percent in 2018.