National Housing Affordability Declines
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National Housing Affordability Declines

However, New South Wales and South Australia saw improvements in affordability in the quarter.

By Kanebridge News
Wed, Jun 2, 2021 4:37pmGrey Clock < 1 min

Both housing and rental affordability has declined, the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s Housing Affordability Report has found.

Although housing affordability improved in New South Wales and South Australia and remained steady in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, it declined in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

REIA President Adrian Kelly stated that housing affordability across Australia has declined, with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments increasing to 34.7%, a rise of 0.1 percentage points over the quarter.

However, when compared to the same quarter of 2020 – housing affordability improved by 0.5 percentage points.

Meanwhile, rental affordability declined with the proportion of income required to meet median rents increasing to 24.4%, an increase of 0.4% over the March quarter and an increase of 0.7% over the past 12 months.

Mr Kelly added that the number of first home buyers had decreased by 4.4% over the quarter, but a rise of 62.6% over the last 12 months. Now, first home buyers make up 40.% of owner-occupier dwelling commitments.

“Over the March quarter, the average loan size grew to $506,340, an increase of 1.0% over the quarter and a rise of 2.6% over the past 12 months. During the quarter, the average loan size increased in all states and territories except New South Wales and South Australia. Over the past 12 months, the average loan size rose in all states and territories, ranging from 2.3% in Victoria to 10.8% in Tasmania,” Mr Kelly said.

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House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.

In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.

The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 –  since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.

“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November.  In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”

The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.  

“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.” 

The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April  to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.

Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.

“Next year will be a particular test of serviceability and housing market stability, as the record-low fixed rate terms secured in 2021 start to expire,” Mr Lawless said.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week also reveal a slowdown in the rate of inflation last month, as higher mortgage repayments and cost of living pressures bite into household budgets.

However, ABS data reveals ongoing labour shortages and high levels of construction continues to fuel higher prices for new housing, although the rate of price growth eased in September and October. 

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