Family home undersupply hurting affordability: RiskWise

author-avatar By on December 04,2019
Family home undersupply hurting affordability: RiskWise

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An imbalance in the supply of family homes to population growth is a major contributing factor to housing affordability challenges in Sydney and Melbourne, according to research.

Australia’s two largest capital cities are experiencing a surge in property prices, while dwelling approvals have fallen for 23 straight months

RiskWise Property Research CEO Doron Peleg said high population and high demand in both cities were creating a systematic issue with no easy solution.

“The burning problem we have is housing supply imbalances as there are not enough family-suitable properties but there is an outstanding number of units in high rises that are unsuitable,” Mr Peleg said.

“There is a systemic issue of undersupply of family-suitable properties in the high-demand areas of Sydney and Melbourne where there is access to jobs, infrastructure and schools.

“With high population growth in both these capital cities, undersupply of family-suitable dwellings, mainly houses and, to a lesser extent, townhouses will drive property values and is likely to create strong long-term growth in prices.

“What it means is supply has been unable to keep pace with strong demand.

“While there is a large supply of units in high-rise buildings, with many areas affected by oversupply, these are generally unsuitable for owner-occupiers and are largely rental properties.

“This imbalance in dwelling construction has been a major contributing factor to housing affordability challenges, remembering that rental properties and owner-occupied ones are not fully substitute products.”

What’s the solution?

Mr Peleg said new high-rise units built in high-density zones carried a risk of oversupply and construction defects, and investment in outer city rings was vital.

“For the same amount of money, investors can usually buy a house in the middle or outer rings which will present much less risk and more likely to enjoy solid capital gains down the track due to the long-term appreciation of land values,” he said.

“However, to avoid housing unaffordability proper planning must be undertaken for medium density in the middle rings. This is the long-term strategic solution.”

Mr Peleg said lack of planning, regulation and a co-ordinated approach between the federal, state and local governments would lead to further imbalances.

He said overall, investors were more likely to benefit from buying houses in the middle rings and the outlying areas of Sydney and Melbourne, provided there were adequate transport solutions and access to employment hubs.

With around 4% of the population concentrated in the major cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, Mr Peleg said this would only serve to drive house prices skyward.

Unemployment in Sydney and Melbourne sits at 4.3% and 4.8% respectively, but in Queensland and Western Australia is at 6.5% and 5.7% respectively.

“Sydney and Melbourne both have strong labour markets and high population concentration and, therefore, house prices will only rise, driving unaffordability,” he said.

“Currently, there are a lack of strategic economic solutions for the other states, for example, the mining states and, therefore, it is obviously the two capital cities will continue to attract higher population concentrations.”

The table below displays a selection of variable-rate home loans on offer, featuring a low-rate pick from each of the following three categories: the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned banks, and the larger non-banks.

Provider Ad rate
Comp rate*
Purchase or Refi, P&I 80% Smart Home Loan 2.88% 2.90% $1,660 More details
Discount Variable 80% 3.07% 3.09% $1,702 More details
Base Variable Rate Special P&I 3.20% 3.20% $1,730 More details
Ad rate
Comp rate*
Purchase or Refi, P&I 80% Smart Home Loan
2.88% 2.90% $1,660
More details
Discount Variable 80%
3.07% 3.09% $1,702
More details
Base Variable Rate Special P&I
3.20% 3.20% $1,730
More details

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. Introductory rate products were not considered for selection. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term. Rates correct as at 1 November 2019. View disclaimer.


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 2019. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, 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 2019) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.

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

*Comparison rate includes both the interest rate and the fees and charges relating to a loan, combined into a single percentage figure. The interest rate per annum is based on a loan credit of $150,000 and a loan term of 25 years.

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Alex joined in 2019. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.


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