Housing affordability conditions are at the lowest level on record, according to the latest report from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and the Commonwealth Bank.
After a seven-year decline, the HIA/Commonwealth Bank First Home Buyer Affordability Index fell by a further 2.1% in the September quarter – the lowest since the series began in 1984.
Down 8.3% year-on-year, the figures follow a 1.7% rise in the median first-home price and a 0.25% increase in interest rates over the quarter, which offset relatively strong household income growth.
The report comes in the wake of the Howard government’s $34m tax restructure policy, which has been criticised by some experts for rewarding the wealthy and penalising middle-income earners.
“It is unacceptable that a typical first homebuyer would have to place themselves in mortgage stress to purchase a home,” said Ron Silberberg, Managing Director of HIA, which is urging the major political parties to commit to a national affordable housing policy.
“Australians deserve to have a national housing policy which has as a core commitment to partner with state and local government in delivering solutions to the housing affordability crisis,” added Silberberg.
“No amount of finger pointing and blame shift will yield any worthwhile outcomes. This is about each level of government pulling its weight to provide affordable housing solutions.”
HIA wants to address the affordable land shortage, as well as helping first homebuyers to avoid the debt trap. It is calling on the major political parties to implement Home Super Saver Accounts to help first homebuyers save for a deposit. This is a pro-savings initiative, which it is hoped would reduce mortgage stress and excessive reliance on debt.