Property prices keep rising and housing is becoming ore unaffordable scream the headlines – especially in Sydney.
According to an article in Domain CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) Amanda Lynch says thathousing-affordability issues have actually been brewing in Australia for quite some time.
Factors at play
“Although the level of affordability can vary cyclically, house-price and household-income data suggest that there has been an underlying structural affordability problem in Australia over the past half-century.
From 1960 to 2006, real house prices increased at an average of 2.7 per cent per annum, ahead of a 1.9 per cent per annum growth per household real income,” Lynch says.
According to Lynch, myriad factors have affected the housing system and property prices in the last 50 years.
These include an undersupply of housing, land-development processes and policies, the cost of construction and property-related taxes, as well as outside factors such as comprehensive taxation reform.
To break it down, in 1973, median house prices across Australia’s capital cities looked something like this:
- Sydney – $27,400
- Melbourne – $19,800
- Brisbane – $17,500
- Adelaide – $16,250
- Perth – $18,850
- Canberra – $26,850
- Hobart – $15,200
- Darwin – $87,500 (information unavailable until 1986; this value reflects 1986 housing costs)
Nowadays, we’re looking at much higher digits and another set of zeroes added to the price, according to September 2014 numbers from Domain Group’s House Price Report:
- Sydney – $843,994
- Melbourne – $615,068
- Brisbane – $473,924
- Adelaide – $459,258
- Perth – $604,822
- Canberra – $573,326
- Hobart – $322,274
- Darwin – $667,115
Let’s put this into perspective:
Back in 1973, the average weekly wage was $111.80 (including full- and part-time workers), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Today, a full-time worker makes on average $1453.90 weekly (before tax).
However, in the property price report, Dr Andrew Wilson, senior economist for the Domain Group, predicts that housing-market activity will continue to decline as affordable housing falls, joblessness increases and consumer confidence wavers.
The changing property landscape
Lynch further explains:
“There have been many changes within the property landscape over the last 50 years.
We’ve seen a welcome increase in the level of foreign investment in commercial real estate, which has allowed for many inner-city apartment projects and new housing developments in the outer suburbs.
We’ve also seen an increase in the level of single-person households, both with retirees living longer and often alone in their family homes as well as with younger professionals who are increasingly living alone in inner-city areas. This, in turn, places extra demand on housing supply,”
While there is a growing level of concern about the low levels of first-home buyers entering the market in recent years, I remember buying my first property 40 years ago.
I paid $18,000 for a house and received $12 a week rent (and was excited!) I got $12 a week rent and took out a 30 year loan and had no idea how I’d ever pay that $18,000 off.
It was hard for first home buyers as well as property investors then. Having said that today many first home buyers are having to decide is it better to rent or to buy , and many are choosing to rent in areas they want to live, but can’t afford to buy and instead they become renting investors and buy an investment property where they can afford to helping them get a foot up the property ladder as explained by John McGrath here
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