Hous­ing costs shape our lives

Money Magazine Australia - - IN BRIEF -

De­spite its mem­o­rable cy­ber­se­cu­rity melt­down, the 2016 cen­sus has re­vealed some in­ter­est­ing facts about our­selves. For starters, it shows that since the pre­vi­ous cen­sus in 2011, ris­ing prop­erty prices and lower in­ter­est rates have had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the way we live. More of us live in share houses

The Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics de­fines a group house­hold as con­sist­ing of two or more un­re­lated peo­ple over the age of 15. The num­ber of group house­holds has risen by 10.5% in the five years to 2016, with the largest in­crease in Syd­ney. Re­search house CoreLogic be­lieves this is due to in­creased rents for ten­ants and sig­nif­i­cant de­posit hur­dles for po­ten­tial first home buy­ers.

Mort­gage costs have gone down

As in­ter­est rates have de­clined, the cost of ser­vic­ing a mort­gage has de­clined sig­nif­i­cantly. Ac­cord­ing to CoreLogic, the av­er­age stan­dard vari­able rate fell from 7.8% in 2011 to 5.25% in 2016. Since 2011, the typ­i­cal mort­gage re­pay­ment across the cap­i­tal cities was ei­ther un­changed or fell (with the ex­cep­tion of Dar­win, which has a very low pro­por­tion of home own­er­ship). Ho­bart has the cheap­est monthly mort­gage re­pay­ments at a me­dian of $1402 a month.

More peo­ple own va­cant prop­er­ties

The cen­sus recorded a slight rise (1%) in un­oc­cu­pied dwellings, with the high­est va­cancy lev­els in hol­i­day ar­eas of coastal Vic­to­ria and re­gional NSW. CoreLogic says that due to high hous­ing pres­sures in in­ner-city sub­urbs, there is rea­son to be­lieve that more in­vestors are buy­ing prop­er­ties in these lo­ca­tions with­out in­tend­ing to ten­ant them. But ren­tal in­come may be de­sir­able once in­ter­est rates rise and cap­i­tal gain re­turns soften.

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