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.

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
Principal & Interest
Featured Online ExclusiveUp To $4K Cashback
  • Immediate cashback upon settlement
  • $2,000 for loans up to $700,000
  • $4,000 for loans over $700,000
5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
Principal & Interest
Featured Apply In Minutes
  • No application or ongoing fees. Annual rate discount
  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
6.14% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
Principal & Interest
Featured Unlimited Redraws
  • No annual fees - None!
  • Get fast pre-approval
  • Unlimited additional repayments free of charge
  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
  • Home loan specialists available today
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . 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. 

Ready, Set, Buy!

Learn everything you need to know about buying property – from choosing the right property and home loan, to the purchasing process, tips to save money and more!

With bonus Q&A sheet and Crossword!

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy