Fact: Applications for the first home buyers’ grant have fallen dramatically:

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reportedly show nearly 7,500 buyers a month applied for the First Home Owners Scheme in 2010 compared to 19,000 a month the year before.

Not fact, but reported as fact by lazy ABC:

Rate rises scaring off first homebuyers

…The threat of further interest rate rises is slowing the first homebuyers market.

Clearly, from the drop in applications, first home buyers have given up – and it wouldn’t take a huge leap to conclude that it might have something to do with the ridiculously inflated house prices.

So who says it’s really to do with potential interest rate rises and not the more obvious fact that the market is now almost impossible to enter? Ah, the Real Estate Institute:

The Real Estate Institute of Australia blames the threat of rising interest rates for a fall in the first homebuyers market during 2010…

“But how flat it is, we don’t need any more interest rate rises to really harm the first homebuyers market and the construction industry for new homes any further.”

Yup, it’s the people who profit from the high prices using the national broadcaster to lobby for government to do what it can to keep those prices high. And that’s the only source for the ABC story – the (unnamed) journalist didn’t go and talk to any advocacy groups representing first home buyers (who would presumably have given some quite different answers to the real estate lobby that benefits from prices being so high), or anyone else who might have some concerns about the high prices. Nope, they just report the self-interested claims of one side of the issue as if they’re fact.

This follows a story a few weeks ago (just as lazy as the Fairfax one) where the ABC reported repeated the self-interested claims of BankWest – another company that profits from prices being high – that it was “stamp duty” that was causing first homebuyers “pain”. In that article, the only people quoted were from the bank, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, and the new Liberal government – all people with an interest in keeping the market inflated for investors.

Seriously, is it impossible for a news organisation to report on the housing issue with some integrity and balance? They’re being shamelessly used as mouthpieces by one side, over and over again.

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