Housing affordability up, but no thanks to lenders, says HIA

by AB22 Mar 2013

Housing affordability surged again in the December 2012 quarter, driven by earnings growth, interest rate cuts and weak price developments, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The HIA-CBA Housing Affordability Index increased by 5.5% in the December 2012 quarter, representing an 18.4% advance on the same period of 2011.

HIA senior economist, Shane Garrett, says the figures represent the eighth consecutive quarter of increase, bringing it close to levels not seen since the height of the GFC in 2009.

 “For regional areas, affordability is at levels last seen during the early 2000’s decade. Affordability is on the increase in every part of the country. This has been driven by the weakness of price developments as well as the two cash rate reductions effected by the RBA in the final quarter.”

He says continued growth in earnings has also served to make housing more affordable.

However, Garrett says it’s worth noting that, “affordability would be even more favourable to householders had recent RBA rate cuts been passed on fully by lenders.”

“Despite the relative attractiveness of house purchase implied by these figures, transactions activity on the ground is very sluggish. This underlines the need for stronger interventions from the RBA in terms of interest rates and from the government with regard to the heavy taxation of home purchase.”

The HIA-CBA Housing Affordability Report recorded improved affordability in all seven capital city indices as well as improvements in the six indices tracking the non-metro regions of each state (Northern Territory is not included in the analysis).