Housing more affordable now than 5 years ago

RateCity CEO Damian Smith said the national average house price is relatively unchanged compared to 2006, based on RP Data figures.

“Buying a home and paying off a mortgage is something most Australians strive for. It got much harder towards the end of 2008, but since the global financial crisis affordability has improved, due to lower housing prices and continued income growth for most Australians.

“The average Australian home now costs $417,500, which is $66,000 less than the average house price from two years ago and pretty much the same as five years ago,” he said.

On the income side, median household income in Australia continues to rise – at an average annual rate of over 7 percent since 2006. Median household income in Australia now sits at just under $77,000, as compared to just over $54,000 in 2006.

“It’s certainly true that the rich have got a lot richer in Australia over the last few years – but middle Australia is doing better on the income side than some of the doom and gloom stories might suggest,” Smith said.

“The average household is now bringing in around $6,000 more than they were two years ago and almost $23,000 more than in 2006.”

Because of declining property prices and consistent income growth, Australians are in a better position to save for a typical 10 percent home loan deposit than two years ago, according to RateCity. A 10 percent deposit in 2009 (on average) was just over $48,000, whereas in 2011, the equivalent figure is just under $42,000.

Smith said there are greater incentives to save for a mortgage deposit now too. “If you’ve got money to invest towards a home loan deposit it’s a better time to save now than in 2009 because savings interest rates are higher and there are now more attractive savings incentives for first home buyers.

“Average online savings account rates in early 2009 were as low as just over 3 percent, versus the current average of nearly 5 percent. While the outlook for deposit rates is that they’re likely to fall in coming months, current rates are still better than they were two years ago.”