The value of Australian homes increased in the first quarter, bucking a global trend downwards, according to a report issued today.

House and flat prices in Australia increased in value by 1.6% in the first three months of the year, according to RP Data-Rismark, helped by a scarcity of supply, lower interest rates and incentives to first-home buyers.

The slight recovery in Australia 'has been driven by the 40% fall in home loan rates to 5.7%, which are now at their lowest levels since July 1968,' said Christopher Joye, managing director of Rismark International.

The Age