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AUSSIE Home Loans has recorded a strong rise in the number of borrowers looking to refinance their mortgages, as home owners try to take advantage of record low interest rates.

The non-bank lender said refinancing accounted for 38.5 per cent of home loans written in June, up from 30.2 per cent in March.

“There have been plenty of home owners who have been complacent about their mortgages,” Aussie founder and executive chairman John Symond said.

“But our figures show that more and more of them are taking advantage of record interest rate lows and are actively seeking out the best deal.”

However, the number of first home buyers settling home loans dropped to 21.3 per cent of total loans written in June, from 32 per cent in March.

“The steam has abated in the first home buyer market as many of them realise that the properties available are probably already at full price,” Mr Symonds said.

“They are re-assessing the market.”

Aussie is one of Australia’s largest non-bank providers of financial services and has a loan book of more than $30 billion.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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WILD weather has caused havoc across Perth, uprooting trees, tearing off roofs and plunging homes into darkness.   

Winds travelling at more than 100km/h tore through the city overnight, ripping the roof off a granny flat in Doubleview, collapsing a ceiling in Joondalup and blowing in the windows of a house in City Beach.

More than 17,000 are believed to be without power because of the storm, mostly in the Perth hills.

State and Emergency Services (SES) have recorded 70 calls for help since 7am, with a total of 125 incidents logged since 6pm last night and 240 properties impacted.

Damage has been reported in coastal suburbs from Two Rocks to Rockingham and all SES units in the metropolitan area have been activated with volunteers in Northamweather called in for backup.

A series of cold fronts have been lashing the city since Friday, with Rottnest, Ocean Reef, Mandurah and Bickley some of the worst hit areas.

Ocean Reef recorded a wind gust of 107km/h and gusts of 115km/h were recorded at Rottnest, where ferry services have been cancelled.

The ports of Fremantle and Kwinana ports have suspended operations until midday.

Across the state, Cape Naturalist and Cape Leeuwin recorded wind gusts of up to 109km/h.  There have been reports of fallen trees and minor damage to homes in Bunbury, Busselton and Capel.

The WA Bureau of Meteorology says it is the wettest day of the year.

Flights from Perth’s international terminal are running half an hour behind schedule, and Main Roads are urging motorists to slow down and take care in the inclement weather.

Near the city, waves from the Swan River were lapping around peak hour traffic on the Kwinana Freeway this morning, while Riverside Drive and parts of Beaufort St have isolated flooding.

Traffic lights are out on the intersection of Great Eastern Highway and Stoneville Rd in Mundaring and at the junction of Kalamunda Rd and Gooseberry Hill Rd.

WA Bureau of Meteorology climate information officer John Relf says 23.2mm of rain has fallen overnight taking Perth much closer to the 177mm average with 147.8mm of rain recorded this month.

“We have exceeded last year’s June rainfall of 142mm,” he said.

Heavy rain has been reported from Collie to Walpole.

WA Water Corporation spokeswoman Clare Lugar says dams should have now started benefiting from the all rainfall.

“Up until Friday the streams hadn’t started to flow,” Ms Lugar said.  “But we are expecting it to have begun flowing over the weekend.” 

The wild weather is expected to ease up later tonight with fine weather forecast by Thursday.

Source  :   www.news.com.au

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WA’s only confirmed case of swine flu has been cleared after a week in quarantine, Ten News has reported, while the nation’s swine flu tally has passed 400.

The  man, who tested positive last week after going to hospital with mild flu symptoms, was in home quarantine with his wife and their eight children.

Australia’s Eastern States has been particularly hard-hit by the flu and Victoria has recorded a massive surge in cases, most of them children.
 
By this afternoon the number of confirmed cases in the State had risen to 306, a rise of 94 in 24 hours.

Most of the new cases in Victoria also involved young people aged five to 18, prompting a twelfth Victorian school to be closed today.
 
According to Federal Health Department figures, there were 64 confirmed cases in NSW, 18 in Queensland, six in South Australia, four in the ACT, and one each in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
 
However, Queensland Health officials say the State now has 22 confirmed cases, the latest being teenage girls.
 
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government was assessing whether to elevate the nation’s response to the disease from the contain to the sustain phase.
 
Victoria is already preparing to move into the sustain phase, under which quarantining is limited to those who share a home with a confirmed swine flu patient.
In the contain phase, anyone who has had contact with a swine flu patient is quarantined voluntarily and given antiviral drugs for a week.
 
The nation’s chief medical officer, Professor Jim Bishop, said the advice to people with flu-like symptoms may change as swine flu evolved.
 
At present, people who come down with flu-like symptoms, especially if they have recently travelled to an affected country, are being advised to seek medical advice.
 
Professor Bishop said in the future, fit and healthy people may be told to stay at home and only those in at-risk groups, including those with seek medical advice and asthma, will be advised to visit their GP.
 
“A lot of people that have these sorts of symptoms of course will, as this thing progresses, stay at home and not necessarily seek medical advice if in their own case it is a at-risk groups— and that we expect to see more of,” he said.
 
“As we move along in this marathon race, what we will need to do is obviously identify those people that we’re concerned about.
 
“If there is large numbers involved, we want to make sure the system is looking after people we most want to look after.”
 
The swine flu-affected ship Pacific Dawn docked in Sydney this morning after NSW Health authorities gave it the all-clear.
 

The P&O ship was forced to cut short its trip to the Barrier Reef last week when three crew tested positive for the virus.
 
A senior NSW Health doctor and 25 nurses boarded the ship in Brisbane on Saturday, testing all 2500 people on board during the two-day voyage to Sydney.
 
While disappointed the cruise didn’t go to plan, passengers said they still enjoyed the journey.
 
David Geers, from Brisbane, joked it was the perfect place to be quarantined for seven days.

 “If you had to be quarantined somewhere I couldn’t have thought of a better place … because we got fed, the drinks tasted the same and the staff were fantastic,” he told reporters at Darling Harbour.
 
More than 15,000 people in 53 countries have tested positive to swine flu, with deaths totalling 99.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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