Affordability up, but first-home buyers less active in March quarter 2019

Stock image.
Stock image.

HOUSING affordability improved nationally with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments dropping 0.9 percentage points to 30.3 per cent in the March quarter 2019 according to the latest Adelaide Bank/REIA Housing Affordability Report.

The report contained good news for WA buyers and home owners with the proportion of income needed for mortgage payments dropping 0.5 percentage points to 22.6 per cent during the reporting period and 1 percentage point lower than the same time last year.

Source: REIA/Adelaide Bank Housing Affordability Report.

Reiwa president Damian Collins said the WA property market was favourable for both buyers and tenants, presenting excellent opportunities to secure housing at affordable prices.

“This is an exciting time for potential and current home buyers,” he said.

“Not only is WA currently the most affordable state in the country, but this combined with the latest RBA cuts as well as the proposed APRA changes to servicing rates, recent Keystart changes and the Federal Government’s proposed First Home Loan Guarantee scheme, housing will become even more affordable.”

Despite increasing affordability, first-home buyer activity dropped across the country and in WA during the quarter.

Nationally, the number of first-home buyers decreased 19.7 per cent to 23, 403, making up 17.9 per cent of the owner-occupier market.

Their number was also 11.6 per cent lower than the same time last year.

Within WA the number of first-home buyers declined 13.6 per cent to 3313 over the quarter and was 7.4 per cent lower than the same period 12 months ago.

They made up 35.9 per cent of WA’s owner occupier market.

“Although the Sydney market has started to cool, the dream of home ownership remains unattainable for many Australians on the East Coast,” Mr Collins said.

“We’re lucky that this dream is very much alive in WA, which is evident by the large proportion of first-home buyers WA has retained, despite the challenging market conditions experienced over the last couple of years.”

The average loan for a first-home buyer was $308,497, higher than December quarter figure of $306,850 and the March quarter 2018 figure of $308,070.

While the size of the loan for first-home buyers increased, the average loan size for WA decreased, down 1.3 per cent over the quarter to $336,186 and 4.1 per cent lower than the same time last year.

Source: REIA/Adelaide Bank Housing Affordability Report.

Rental affordability improved to 16.5 per cent of income, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from the previous quarter.

WA was the most affordable state to rent in terms of proportion of income consumed by rent.

However affordability declined over the year, up 1 percentage point.

“While this isn’t the largest improvement in the country, according to the report WA is still ranked number one for rental affordability in the March 2019 quarter out of all states and territories, with Perth’s median rent having held at $350 per week,” Mr Collins said.

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