Money Editor from Sonja Koremans published an article at the beginning of the month about First Home Buyers.

For those eager to get into the property market, it appears that after years of seemingly unstoppable housing growth 2011 could be the year to secure a slice of the great Australian dream.

Last year the housing market was still one of the strongest in the world with growth tracking at five per cent annually.

But in 2011 analysts are predicting this will wind back – great for those waiting on the sidelines to buy, less so for those hoping the music would never stop.

During December 2010 there were near across-the-board price falls in the capital cities, with the number of listings rising and auction clearance rates plummeting.

Continuous rate rises of 1.75 percentage points since October 2009 have bitten and buyers’ attention late last year was diverted by the lengthy federal election and major sporting events.

Analysts predict the downward trend will gain momentum in coming months and negative consumer sentiment has already been heightened by the devastating Queensland floods.

Most economists predict property prices will rise nationally for a year by a modest three per cent, with Sydney and Perth expected to record the strongest performances.

But real estate gems can still be found in any economic climate – even when there is a period of low growth forecast.

Potential buyers should seek out areas where the market has performed well in the medium to long term (three to five years), and for properties with high gross rental yields, short sale times and minimal vendor discounting.

RP DATA national research analyst Tim Lawless said conditions would see houses take longer to sell and buyers negotiating much harder than they had previously.

‘For 2011, we are likely to see vendor expectations change as slower market conditions come into play.” Mr Lawless added.