ANZ: rural Australia boosted by first-home buyers

Bank account provider ANZ has announced that regional Australia is well positioned to steer itself through the downturn, with first-home buyers set to bring a boost to construction jobs.

In its quarterly report on the state of the regional and rural economy, the group said that the rush of new first-home buyers entering the market, spurred on by months of interest rate cuts from the Reserve Bank, will help to restore faith in the residential property sector.

ANZ spokesperson Mark Hand said that rural Australia will be a welcome source of jobs during the recession and will help to pull the rest of the country through.

"While we expect Australia to have a significant slowdown this year and unemployment to rise, the diversity of regional economies will help these areas cope with the downturn better than the last recession in the early 1990s," he insisted.

Last month, ANZ pledged $1 million to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and announced a three-month payment suspension for home loan and credit card customers affected by the blazes.

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