Almost two decades ago interest rates were sitting at 17.5 per cent.
On Tuesday the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate once again to a record low of just 1 per cent.
But despite now being described as "the best time to enter the real estate market" first home buyers are reluctant to buy with mortgages proving harder to get approved after the banking Royal Commission.
Current market conditions in the Border and North East are in favour of the buyer with real estate agents looking to spring for increased market activity.
But the low interest rate isn't all positive with retirees losing more money on their savings the lower the rate goes, potentially leaving them thousands of dollars out of pocket.
BUILDING WAS THE BEST OPTION FOR FIRST HOME
For young couple Leah Gabriel and Douglas Fox it wasn't just the government incentives for first home buyers that pushed them to build their dream home - they were also sick of renting.
"It was just the best option for us," Ms Gabriel said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"We were paying something like $350 a week for rent and we just decided one night we should build our own house and put that money into our own mortgage and not be paying off someone else's.
"We knew what we wanted to spend and what we could get with that amount of money in town and it just didn't sit right with us.
"So we decided to build out at Baranduda and we have been in our new home since March."
Ms Gabriel said when applying for a mortgage the bank wanted to give them much more than they were willing to spend.
"I think you have to be really clear with what you can afford," she said.
"The bank wanted to give us like $100,000 more than what we wanted and we just said no.
"We like to pay more than our weekly mortgage so we can pay it off quicker and put as much equity into it as possible.
"Once you have a foot in the door you can then think about the next home."
HARDER TO BORROW
With interest rates at the lowest they have ever been banks are being forced to cut their home loan interest rates and pass on the savings to their customers.
And with the lowest variable rate loan sitting at a mere 2.89 per cent with Reduce Home Loans, according to compare website Finder, customers are looking to shop around.
But since the banking Royal Commission buyers are worried bank home loans are more difficult to get.
Stean Nicholls director Nicholas Clark said because the banks are being put under a "magnifying glass" they have "tightened their lending criteria".
"And this is making the approval for finance a more lengthy exercise that it was 12 months ago," he said.
"For buyers seeking to enter the market, obtaining finance approval before starting the search for a home is crucial.
"Otherwise you could be left heartbroken when you find your dream home, but are unable to act in time and miss out.
"If you had approval more than three months ago, it is a good idea to keep it updated as lending criteria may have changed since."
INTEREST RATES LOW BUT LENDING RATES REMAIN
Olympia Andronicos from Choice Finance Speicalists said although first home buyers might think it will be easier to get a loan with a low interest rate, bank lending rates "haven't really changed in the past few years".
"It is sitting at around 7 per cent at the moment so the criteria for how much you can borrow remains the same," she said.
"In saying that though if you have the savings and you know how much you can afford each week it is a great time to get in the market and not pay too much interest."
Ms Andronicos said Afterpay is something that "you can't hide".
"You used to be able to hide a lay-by back in the day but all these charges for Afterpay now show up on your statement and lenders are going to take that into consideration," she said.
"If you can't save up for those shoes or that item of clothing how can you save up for a home?"
"I see plenty of first home buyers, and numbers are definitely increasing, but the best thing is going through your household expenses because it shows you exactly what you can afford and what you spend money on before you get a loan."
Although Ms Andronicos said first home buyers "come in wanting to build" they often change their mind.
"A lot of them come in thinking I want to build but when reality hits there are actually much bigger price brackets for established homes and when you take in to consideration all the extra costs when you build, like landscaping, fencing and curtains, they often reconsider," she said.
"But we have a lot of options here on the Border for first home buyers and the way the banks are working at the moment they really listen to each individual circumstance which makes it much easier."
CURRENT MARKET CHANGE
Ray White Wodonga principal Narelle Robinson said she has been in the real estate game for 18 years and she has "noticed a difference" in the current market.
"What we're seeing at the moment is a shortage of stock - but we're optimistic the spring selling season will jump-start buyers and sellers," she said.
"Potential vendors and buyers are really doing their homework on how the property market sweeteners will benefit them.
"When you look at it, less stock is actually a positive thing for vendors, as it means increased competition for their properties.
"We're not seeing a massive increase in first time buyers, but they're definitely out there and looking. The market conditions are perfect for them but it's only perfect if they have the right amount of savings to be able to achieve financial approval to buy.
"Finance has been difficult for many buyers but we are hoping things will improve soon given the recent policy changes.
"Since the federal election, RBA rate cuts and the change in APRA's policy position, people seem to still be assessing the market. But we're certainly preparing for a spring uplift."
SPRING IS THE SEASON
Border real estate agents are promising an upturn in the local real estate market in spring and said the conditions are more in "favour of the buyer".
Mr Clark said while Melbourne and Sydney experienced a "much needed correction" in prices in the past years, Albury has remained "relatively consistent".
"A slight downturn at the beginning of the year has provided great opportunities for people to upgrade their homes and lifestyles at a reduced cost," Stean Nicholls director Nicholas Clark said.
"With increased favour to buying conditions such as record low interest rates, building incentives and reduction of stamp duty for first home buyers, we are beginning to see slightly increased activity within the market as more and more people take advantage of these benefits."
Mr Clark said spring might bring more first home buyers out as well.
"The current interest rates combined with a slight downturn in property prices at the beginning of the year, building incentives, and the fact that first home buyers are exempt of stamp duty has seen an increase in activity," he said.
"The spring market usually sees an increase in activity for both buying and selling.
"Vendors usually take advantage of the colour pop in their gardens and emphasise the entertaining capacity of the home.
"This along great purchasing incentives sees a great opportunity to enter the market or upgrade."
TIME TO CHAT ABOUT FINANCES
Retirees are the biggest losers when it comes to low interest rates.
Many have their life savings sitting in term deposits and are often relying on the accrual of interest.
But Ms Andronicos said it "isn't time to panic".
"But it is the time to sit down with your financial adviser and chat about what the best options are for you long term," she said.
"And how to plan for when interest rates do go up.
"There are plenty of options out there to help your ride out this low interest rate and see it through without losing thousands of dollars."
Nothing is as bad as it seems, according to Ms Andronicos.
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