Australian housing the most affordable in a decade

author-avatar By on October 27, 2020
Australian housing the most affordable in a decade

Photo by Natalie Su on Unsplash

Housing was the most or near the most affordable in a decade in September, according to Moody's.

Australian households with two income earners needed 23.0% of monthly income to meet mortgage repayments on new loans in September 2020, down from 25.1% a year earlier. 

Moody's said the fallout from COVID, record low interest rates, and government support schemes like JobKeeper had all contributed to the rise in affordability.

"Australian housing prices declined an average 1.5% over the five months to September 2020 because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus, though prices still rose 3.2% over the year to September," Moody's said.

"The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lowered the official cash rate to a record low 0.25% in March to combat the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic, driving mortgage interest rates down.

"Government assistance payments have supported household incomes since the coronavirus pandemic.

"Before the pandemic, average household incomes were increasing, rising 5.4% over the year to May." 

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender
Advertised rate Comparison rate Monthly repayment Rate TypeOffsetRedrawOngoing FeeUpfront FeesLVRLump Sum RepaymentAdditional RepaymentsPre-approval
VariableMore details
LIMITED TIME OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
LIMITED TIME OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
VariableMore details
WIN YOUR HOME LOAN INTEREST FREE

Nano Home Loans Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)

  • WIN your home loan interest free and save up to $1.1 million. Refinance by 29 October. T&Cs apply.
  • Refinance Only. Fast online application, refinance in minutes, not weeks.
  • No Nano fees, Free 100% offset sub account. Mobile app. Visa debit card & instant payments.
WIN YOUR HOME LOAN INTEREST FREE

Nano Home Loans Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)

  • WIN your home loan interest free and save up to $1.1 million. Refinance by 29 October. T&Cs apply.
  • Refinance Only. Fast online application, refinance in minutes, not weeks.
  • No Nano fees, Free 100% offset sub account. Mobile app. Visa debit card & instant payments.
VariableMore details
YOU COULD WIN $100k TO PAY DOWN YOUR LOAN*

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • For a chance to win $100K towards your home loan, apply with Athena before Oct 31 & be approved by Dec 15
  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
YOU COULD WIN $100k TO PAY DOWN YOUR LOAN*

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • For a chance to win $100K towards your home loan, apply with Athena before Oct 31 & be approved by Dec 15
  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
VariableMore details
AN EASY ONLINE APPLICATION

Yard Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (Special) (LVR < 70%)

  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Unlimited free redraws
  • Optional 100% offset can be added for $120 p.a.^
AN EASY ONLINE APPLICATION

Yard Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (Special) (LVR < 70%)

  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Unlimited free redraws
  • Optional 100% offset can be added for $120 p.a.^
VariableMore details
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services

Rates correct as of September 25, 2021. View disclaimer.

In Sydney, new borrowers needed 29.9% of household income to meet mortgage repayments in September, compared with 30.9% a year earlier and 32.7% on average over the last 10 years.

However, Sydney remained the least affordable city for housing in Australia.

In Perth, new borrowers needed 15.0% of household income to meet mortgage repayments in September 2020, the lowest in a decade and down from 17.4% a year earlier.

Perth was the most affordable capital city for housing in Australia.

Moody's said it expected the trend of rising affordability to continue into 2021.

"We expect interest rates to remain low for the foreseeable future," it said. 

"Housing prices will likely see some downward pressure as the result of the macroeconomic weakness, albeit the impact may be muted due to the low interest rates.

"Conversely, household incomes will come under pressure in coming months as government income support measures such as JobKeeper and Jobseeker end, but we do not expect this to outweigh the impact of low mortgage interest rates and housing price movements." 

RBA rate cut to further improve affordability? 

The RBA is widely tipped to cut the cash rate by 15 basis points to a new record low on Melbourne Cup Day. 

Whether this cut is passed onto home loan rates remains to be seen, with lenders' margins already tightly squeezed, and several lenders offering sub 2% mortgages. 

In a speech earlier in the month, RBA Governor Phillip Lowe said the central bank's analysis had revealed a cut would be more effective now than in previous months when most states were experiencing lockdowns. 

"When the pandemic was at its worst and there were severe restrictions on activity we judged that there was little to be gained from further monetary easing," Dr Lowe said.

"The solutions to the problems the country faced lay elsewhere.

"As the economy opens up, though, it is reasonable to expect that further monetary easing would get more traction than was the case earlier."

Dr Lowe again ruled out negative interest rates and said the cash rate was unlikely to be raised before 2023. 


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Great Southern Bank, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

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Alex joined Savings.com.au as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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