Stephanie Anderson June 06, 2012
For Sale sign Photo: Anthea Russo
Canberra welfare groups have dismissed the findings of a housing affordability report which ranks the capital as the most affordable state or territory in the country for homebuyers.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia's March Quarter Housing Affordability Report, issued today, said the ACT was the most affordable state or territory in which to buy a home.
It's a position the ACT has held for six years, due in part to its high median weekly family income, listed as $2815. The proportion of income required to meet loan repayments decreased over the quarter to 18.3 per cent, almost 14 percentage points below the national average, but ACT Anglicare regional manager Jenny Kitchen said measuring housing affordability by median household incomes was a flawed method.
''We have a relatively large percentage of senior people on high wages in the public sector, however Canberra also has many lower income earners working in the community, health and retail sectors,'' she said.
''Our research has focused on this lower income group and has found Canberra to be the least affordable city in Australia for low-income renters. In order to have a healthy society Canberra needs to be providing affordable housing to lower income earners that provide the essential services that keeps our city functioning.''
The median weekly family income for Canberra has been steadily rising over previous reports, from $2750 in the September quarter to $2785 and $2815 in the December and March quarters respectively.
ACT Shelter executive officer Leigh Watson said for Canberrans earning less than the median income, housing was unaffordable. ''Although the housing market has 'slowed' marginally over the past few months this has had no positive impact on housing affordability for people on low to moderate incomes - especially for those renting,'' she said.
''A significant proportion of Canberrans cannot realistically aspire to home ownership. As a consequence, rental costs are also very expensive for people on low to moderate incomes.'' The Housing Affordability Report stated that within the ACT, the proportion of income required to meet rental payments was 16.7 per cent. The figure ranked the capital as the most affordable state or territory in the country, however the report stated that Canberra rents were amongst the highest in the country.
Real Estate Institute of the ACT director Craig Bright said work was continuing to ensure all Canberrans had access to ''suitable, affordable housing''.
The Housing Affordability Report listed NSW as the most unaffordable state or territory in which to buy a home, with the proportion of income required to meet home loan repayments at 36.5 per cent.