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If medals were handed out for making money, gold would go to property investment according to this year's BRW Rich 200 List. The list ranks property as the single biggest source of wealth among Australia's 200 wealthiest people. Despite all the attention given to mining wealth, the number of mining magnates in the list has dropped from 28 to 22, a sign of the trouble in commodity markets over the past year. By contrast, 55 of the list entrants gained their wealth from property and many of those who didn't make their fortunes in property have stored their wealth by investing in property. "The rise in the number of Rich 200 members to make most of their money from property perhaps also points to volatility in equity markets", reports BRW. "Although the property market has had its own problems, it remains a relatively...

[pullquote-left]First home buyers have the best chance in more than two years of buying a property, a survey shows.[/pullquote-left] Financial comparison website ratecity.com.au says housing affordability is now back at the same level it was in March 2010. Its latest first home buyer index, which measures how hard it is for first home buyers to enter the market, fell by nine points to 114 in the 12 months to July. The result, which is based on factors including household income, loan size and mortgage repayments, was the biggest fall since the index launched three years ago. "For the first time since we began this index three years ago, we haven't seen the first home buyer market improve so dramatically in a 12-month period," spokeswoman Michelle Hutchison said in a statement on Saturday. "Interest rates are down, property values and the national average first home loan...

Borrowers hoping for a rate cut will have to wait at least another month with the Reserve Bank of Australia keeping the official cash rate on hold at 3.5 percent at its August meeting today. The RBA board has already slashed the cash rate by 75 basis points this year — a half-percentage reduction in May followed by a quarter-percent drop in June. Nine finance editor Ross Greenwood said the RBA is overlooking historically low inflation and concerns about a potential rise in unemployment, which would "enhance the case for a rate cut". "The decision is based on a potential turn around in the economic fortunes of the US and Europe," Greenwood said. "It's a long shot but it's colouring their thinking at this time." A freeze on the official rate was widely tipped with an AAP survey of 15 economists published on Monday revealing...

[dropcaps]M[/dropcaps]ortgage holders hoping for a third successive rate cut will have to wait at least another month after the Reserve Bank of Australia today left the official interest rate on hold at 3.5 percent. Announced at 2.30pm AEST, the RBA board's decision comes as no surprise to economists who widely backed no change to the official cash rate this month. "At today's meeting, the board judged that, with inflation expected to be consistent with the target and growth close to trend, but with a more subdued international outlook than was the case a few months ago, the stance of monetary policy remained appropriate," RBA governor Glenn Stevens said in a statement. A survey of 21 economists conducted by AAP earlier this week found unanimous belief that rates would stay on hold following the release of positive employment and GDP figures. The RBA has slashed...

The Reserve Bank has cut its cash rate by 25 basis points, marking the biggest back-to-back monthly reductions since the depth of the global financial crisis. The central bank today dropped its key lending rate from 3.75 per cent to 3.5 per cent - its lowest level since November 2009. The onus will now fall on commercial lenders to pass the reduction on to borrowers. Today’s cut was expected by 13 of 27 economists polled by Bloomberg, with four of them tipping the RBA would repeat May’s surprise 50 basis-point reduction. The rest predicted no change. The central bank has now lowered its lending rate four times in its past seven meetings as slowing economic growth gives it more room to spur demand without risking a surge in inflation. The outlook for global growth, though, is dimming almost daily as Europe struggles to avoid...