Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the break and took some time out with family and friends.

With the New Year already well underway, it's a great time to reflect on what happened in 2013 and start mapping out our strategies for 2014.

By the end of 2013, the property market was finally showing signs of movement after four years of slow going. According to the end of year market data, Australia's combined capital city home values increased by 9.8% over the 12 months to December 2013.

Melbourne and Sydney led the way in this recovery, with their growth likely to continue into 2014. Sydney enjoyed growth of 13.7% and Melbourne 6.1%. However, growth was slower in smaller cities and regional markets with all other capital cities only recording growth of 4.5% or lower, suggesting there may still be bargains to be had for those looking to invest.

With interest rates at their lowest for 50 years and no signs of rate increases on the horizon as yet, the property market is still performing well â€" allowing for the usual relaxation of transactions over the holiday period.

In last three months of 2013, the construction sector continued its expansion with particular strength in new home constructions. This bodes well for first home buyers in 2014.

According to indications from the RBA during their last meeting in December 2013, further rate cuts in 2014 are not out of the question and these will be determined by the performance of the economy as a whole and indicators such as the level of the Australian dollar and rising unemployment figures.

According to market analysts, unemployment figures in 2013 were starting to reach levels that may affect the investment property market as a higher unemployment rate often accompanies a lower level in demand for housing. 

We'll have to wait until the RBA's next meeting in February to see if higher unemployment rates and a high Aussie dollar result in a further rate cut bonus for us in 2014.

If you're looking to purchase a home or investment property in 2014, it's a great time to take advantage of lower interest rates and the recent property market recovery. It's also a great time to conduct a home loan health check â€" so please give us a call to discuss your plans, aspirations and financial goals for 2014!