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By Eliza Owen

Australia’s most mortgaged regions and the impact of 12 rate hikes (and counting)

key takeaways

Key takeaways

Major bank economists have adjusted their forecasts for the terminal cash rate to at least 4.35%, indicating potential further rate increases.

The increase in the cash rate has already led to higher monthly home loan repayments, with an example of a $750,000 mortgage increasing by approximately $1,550 per month.

The impact of rate hikes and higher mortgage costs will vary across different regions, with some areas being more affected than others.

Melbourne's outer regions, particularly Wyndham and Casey-South, have the highest number of mortgaged owner-occupier households.

The June cash rate decision doused hopes for many Australians that rate hikes were nearing an end.

It prompted the major bank economists to reset their forecasts for the terminal cash rate to at least 4.35%, dragged on consumer sentiment, and may take some steam out of the recent housing market recovery.

Cash Rate

Of the 400 basis point increase in the cash rate so far, it’s likely that around 350 basis points will have been passed through to outstanding variable loan holders by the end of June.

Using the example of a $750,000 mortgage, this takes monthly home loan repayments up by around $1,550 per month.

Additionally, the bulk of fixed-term home loans taken on during the pandemic are expiring this year, exposing more households to a spike in interest costs.

But households in some regions will feel the pinch more than others

The number of mortgaged, owner-occupier households is generally highest in major cities' outer regions, particularly Melbourne.

Looking at SA3 regional boundaries at the time of the 2021 Census, the highest number of mortgaged owner occupiers were in:

  • Wyndham (43,807, or around 48% of households),
  • Casey – South (38,614, or 56.2% of households), and
  • Wanneroo in Perth (38,320, or 54.0% of households)

The top 25 SA3 regional boundaries with the highest number of mortgaged households are set out in Table 1, alongside a summary of value and listings performance.

Table 1. Most owner-occupier households with a mortgage, housing market performance







SA3 Region


Owner Occupier households with a mortgage - August 2021  

Change in home values


Listings performance






Portion of households


Since August 2021



Past three months

Change in total listings relative to previous five-year average Change in new listings past four weeks
Greater Melbourne Wyndham 43,807 47.8% 1.8% -0.3% -9.6% 10.0%
Greater Melbourne Casey - South 38,614 56.2% -2.1% -0.2% -22.8% 6.1%
Greater Perth Wanneroo 38,320 54.0% 8.4% 1.7% -47.0% -5.6%
Greater Melbourne Whittlesea -


37,864 45.5% -2.6% 1.2% -10.8% 1.4%
Greater Melbourne Melton - Bacchus


32,079 51.9% -0.9% -1.1% 20.6% 8.7%
Greater Adelaide Onkaparinga 29,721 43.3% 29.3% 2.4% -45.6% 6.4%

Greater Melbourne

Tullamarine - Broadmeadows  












Greater Perth Stirling 28,908 35.0% 2.8% 2.5% -33.2% 6.0%
Rest of Vic. Geelong 28,002 34.6% -4.5% -1.8% 11.7% -7.1%
Greater Perth Swan 27,549 54.2% 5.7% 3.3% -45.5% -5.8%

Greater Melbourne


Yarra Ranges













Greater Perth Joondalup 26,348 45.6% 8.2% 3.1% -39.3% -7.3%
Rest of Qld Townsville 24,988 35.7% 7.5% 0.9% -33.9% 3.3%
Greater Melbourne Knox 23,563 41.0% -6.9% 2.2% -27.9% 33.9%
Greater Sydney Blacktown - North 23,343 55.5% 3.4% 4.6% -13.5% 24.3%
Greater Sydney Gosford 23,223 33.9% -8.9% -0.5% -24.5% 5.9%

Greater Perth
















Greater Sydney
















Greater Melbourne















Greater Sydney Penrith 22,330 40.7% -1.7% 1.7% -27.6% -6.4%
Rest of NSW Newcastle 22,055 31.5% 2.0% 1.8% -16.8% 11.9%
Greater Melbourne Frankston 21,907 41.3% -7.1% 0.8% -13.6% -4.2%

Rest of Qld

Ormeau -














Greater Sydney Wyong 21,525 34.1% -4.4% 2.8% -27.0% 0.5%

Greater Adelaide
















Source: CoreLogic, ABS Census 2021

Of these 25 regions, nine are in Melbourne, five are in Perth and Sydney and two are in Adelaide.

The remaining four are large regional centres, including Ormeau-Oxenford on the Gold Coast, Geelong, Newcastle and Townsville.

For markets in the capital city regions, there is an average distance to the city centre of about 34 km, ranging from Stirling in Perth (which has a 9 km distance to the CBD) to Wyong in the Central Coast of NSW (70 km from the Sydney CBD).

As of the 2021 Census, median weekly household incomes across these markets had a sizable range, from $2,722 per week across Blacktown – North in Sydney, to $1,364 in Salisbury in Greater Adelaide.

However, 16 of the 25 regions had a median weekly household income lower than the greater capital city or region.

Capital growth trends across these markets are an important consideration in the financial stability of the Australian housing market.

This is because in the event of a ‘forced sale’, growth in home values allows a seller to come away with some capital gain, or allows a mortgagee in possession to recuperate the entirety of debt on a property.

In these dwelling markets with high mortgage volumes, capital growth since the 2021 Census has averaged 3.1%, compared to national housing market growth of just 1.0% in the same period.


However, there is a large range in capital growth performance from 40.5% in Salisbury, to -8.9% in Gosford.

New listings volumes have generally crept lower across Australia in the past few weeks, as the market enters a seasonal slowdown.

However, in the four weeks to 18 June, new listings have risen across 12 of the 25 high mortgage markets.

Across the Blacktown – North market, new listings have increased from 185 in the four weeks to May 2023, to 230 in the past four weeks.

Total listings are still low relative to where they have been in the past five years. Still, the monthly median time on the market across Blacktown – North has been rising since February, which may lead to an accumulation of total stock as interest rates continue to climb and buyer uncertainty increases.

Another market that holds some uncertainty is the Melton – Bacchus Marsh region of Melbourne.

Total listings are elevated relative to where they have been historically, and the flow of new listings has increased steadily to 312 new properties for sale in the four weeks to 18 June (up 8.7% from four weeks ago).

On the other hand, the western suburbs of Melbourne have seen remarkable population growth in recent years, are a popular destination for overseas migrants, and while home values still fell in the three months to May, the pace of decline has been easing.

Are high mortgage markets risky?

There are also a lot of nuances to consider across these markets that are not currently captured in census data.

These include the size and maturity of mortgages and serviceability.

At the other end of the spectrum, markets with a low concentration of owner-occupier mortgages include inner city areas, and mining towns, and will presumably carry their own risk of investment loans.

The location of these investors and what mortgage stress they may be facing is unclear.

At this stage, most markets with a high volume of owner-occupier mortgages do not exhibit capital growth trends that are alarmingly out of step with the national housing market.


Indeed, some markets have had extraordinary capital gains since the onset of the pandemic, and since the Census snapshot.

However, it is noticeable that new listing volumes are climbing in some of these markets, where the national trend is seeing a seasonal slowdown.

This could make it more difficult for recent buyers to make a capital gain if they are struggling to meet mortgage repayments.

As buyer demand wanes amid higher interest costs and seasonal trends, there could be an extended downturn in some of these markets as stock accumulates, such as in Melton – Bacchus March.

In areas such as Blacktown – North, where values have seen a strong bounce back in the three months to May, as supply creeps up it may put downward pressure on the growth trend in the coming months.

About Eliza Owen Eliza is head Of Residential Research Australia for Corelogic and a respected property market commentator. Eliza holds a first class honours degree in economics from the University of Sydney

If an owner occupier is facing difficulty in servicing his home loan, the alternative of renting a house is getting less attractive due to rising rental values. If an investor is having difficulty in servicing his loans, he has the opportunity to inc ...Read full version

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What a load of hog wash. Im sick of hearing all this media hype about 12 rate increases. Lets puts things into perspective. All but 2 were 0.25% rate increases which in reality is a tiny increase. The latest increase raises interest on a mortg ...Read full version

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