The Real Estate Institute of Australia's (REIA) quarterly housing affordability report shows there are 105% more first home buyers in Western Australia compared to a year ago.

Affordability has worsened Australia-wide over the March quarter however, with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments increasing to 34.7%, up 10 basis points (0.1%).

Loan sizes keep growing too, according to REIA President Adrian Kelly.

"Over the March quarter, the average loan size to first home buyers increased to $425,875, an increase of 2.2% over the quarter and an increase of 1.2% over the past 12 months," he said.

This is compared to a market-wide average loan size of $506,340, an increase of 1% over the quarter and up 2.6% on a year ago.

Tasmania led the charge in loan size growth, up 10.8% over 12 months.

The release of REIA's report comes after CoreLogic revealed on Tuesday that home prices were up Australia-wide by 2.2% in May.

Though compared to a year ago, affordability has improved 50 basis points (0.5%), according to REIA's report.

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest 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
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5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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  • 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
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  • Unlimited additional repayments free of charge
  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
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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.

Vacancy rates and rental affordability down

REIA's report also shows that rental affordability declined across the country, with the proportion of income required to meet median rents increasing to 24.4%.

This is an increase of 0.4% over the March quarter, and an increase of 0.7% over the past 12 months.

Domain figures released today also show the vacancy rate has declined for the second month in a row to 1.7% nationwide. 

This figure was buoyed by a return to pre-pandemic vacancy levels in Sydney, down to 2.7%, with a 5% drop in rental listings over May. 

Vacancy rates in Darwin, Adelaide, and Brisbane are at their lowest point since Domain's records began in 2017. 

In Melbourne, rental vacancies remain high at 4.2%, adding to fears about the city's 'fragile' property market.

Domain's vacancy rate report authors Henry Yu and Dr Nicola Powell said the overall rental market tightening "will be a welcome boost for landlords".

"The worst is now behind us... for the second month in a row, Melbourne’s vacancy rate tightened more than any other capital, declining from 4.2% to 3.8%," they said.

"Vacancy rates continue to remain tight in the smaller capital city rental markets, and this is likely to continue to put increased pressure on asking rents."

Lowest vacancy rates across capital city areas
May 2021
Sydney Melbourne Brisbane & Gold Coast Perth Adelaide
1 Camden (0.3%) Yarra Ranges (0.2%) Capalaba (0.2%) Kwinana (0.3%) Gawler – Two Wells (0.1%)
2 Blue Mountains (0.4%) Nillumbik – Kinglake (0.4%) Caboolture Hinterland (0.3%) Wanneroo (0.4%) Marion (0.1%)
3 Wyong (0.4%) Maroondah (0.4%) Nerang (0.3%) Serpentine – Jarrahdale (0.4%) Playford (0.2%)
4 Gosford (0.6%) Cardinia (0.4%) Coolangatta (0.3%) Cockburn (0.4%) Tea Tree Gully (0.2%)
5 Campbelltown (NSW) (0.6%) Mornington Peninsula (0.5%) Wynnum – Manly (0.4%) Swan (0.4%) Salisbury (0.2%)
Source: Domain
The vacancy rate represents the portion of available, empty rental properties relative to the total stock of rental property. The rental vacancy rate is based on adjusted Domain rental listings and will be subject to slight revisions over time. Areas are based on ABS SA3 geography that are located in a capital city GCCSA.

Photo by Nathan Hurst on Unsplash

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