Homebuyer confidence is on the rise!

Nearly 40 per cent of people believe now is a good time to buy property – up from just 25 per cent in 2010.

The Genworth Homebuyer Confidence Index, which polls sentiments about buying as well as mortgage stress, found a recent drop in people struggling to make repayments and an “increasing comfort with debt”.

Real estate listings typically increase in autumn, data from property website realestate.com.au shows, in what could serve as a double boost for the market after a slack two years.

Genworth CEO Ellie Comerford yesterday said the dream of home ownership was not dead.

March quarter research found the number of home owners struggling to make repayments had fallen since last year, from one in four mortgage holders to one in five. Fuel, electricity bills, groceries and necessities are affecting the ability to repay the mortgage more than interest rates, unemployment and other debts, with 71 per cent of people in mortgage stress blaming the cost of living.

“While cost of living pressures and an increase in unemployment are likely to strain households, currently these problems are being offset by positive factors such as wage growth, low inflation and interest rate cuts,” Ms Comerford said.

The median NSW house price fell 3 per cent year on year in January to $427,000. Property adviser Margaret Lomas said: “We are at a time when housing is the most affordable it has been for a decade.”

realestate.com.au data found autumn was the time for the most new property listings and prospective buyers, with May attracting more than 7.5 million unique browsers.

“Our website traffic over the past three years shows a spike of activity in March,” spokeswoman Joanne Whyte said. “Autumn accounts for almost 30 per cent of total listings for the year.”

RP Data reports found Sydney has fewer homes in negative equity than the national average, with 3.6 per cent lower than their 2011 purchase price.