Housing affordability declined in all states and territories, except Victoria and the Northern Territory, in the final quarter of 2018, but showed a marginal year-on-year improvement, new research shows.
The Adelaide Bank/REIA Housing Affordability Report for the December quarter 2018 showed a slight decline in housing affordability nationally, with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments increasing to 31.2 per cent, up by 0.1 of a percentage point, but a year-on-year improvement of 0.4 of a percentage point when compared to the December quarter of 2017.
Head of third-party banking at Adelaide Bank Darren Kasehagen said that it is prudent to keep an eye on the bigger picture.
“The slight down-tick in housing affordability nationally for the quarter is disappointing, but when we look at the year-on-year figures, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017, housing affordability has improved over the past year, with the proportion of income required to meet monthly loan repayments decreasing by 0.4 [of a percentage point],” he said.
“A 3.8 per cent increase in the number of first home buyers during the quarter was also to be welcomed, but when compared year-on-year to the December quarter 2017, we are actually looking at a longer-term decrease in FHBs of 5.8 per cent.”
Mr Kasehagen said that the first home buyer market is showing signs of revival.
“In somewhat of a turnaround, first home buyer activity in Canberra/ACT has notably increased — by a remarkable 34 per cent, which is indicative of a good deal of confidence in the local economy.
“The largest increase in the total number of loans was also in the Australian Capital Territory — up by 24.1 per cent — leaving NSW to record the smallest increase in FHBs at just 2 per cent.”
He said that the national home loan numbers are showing mixed results.
“The report also recorded an increase of 3.3 per cent nationally in the number of loans over the December quarter, but despite this increase, we are still looking at a decrease of 9.4 per cent compared with the same quarter last year, and we have also seen a decrease in average loan size to first home buyers to $337,500.”