Housing Affordability – the Real Facts

Isn’t it typical of the ABC to be Sydney/Melbourne biased when it comes to reporting on the issue of housing affordability? One wonders if the journalists there bothered researching other markets, or did they simply ignore contradictory evidence that spoils a good beat up. As the following extract from an REIQ media release shows, the issue of housing affordability is simply not an issue in markets outside of Sydney/Melbourne. Buying a home in Brisbane is now as good a time as it has ever been, with interest rates very low and housing prices not increasing anywhere near what they have in Sydney and Melbourne.

(A recent article in the Australian points out that almost half the ABC content creators are based in Sydney: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/abc-reform/sydneycentric-abc-ignores-regional-areas/news-story/0a07073c8766ca4ef299f13c41fe0a6c )

What’s missing from negative gearing debate?
(extract of article courtesy REIQ)

Negative gearing is the hot topic and everyone has an opinion, but is everyone getting all the facts?

4 Corners report

On Monday night (2.5.16), ABC’s 4 Corners did a piece on negative gearing that aimed to establish the case that negative gearing was pushing up house prices, making home ownership impossible for young, first-home buyers.

Reporter Ben Knight revealed that Melbourne’s median house price is above $700,000 and Sydney’s median house price is “a tick under $1 million”. Ben also revealed that it takes 10 times the average wage to buy a median-priced home in Melbourne and more than 12 times the average wage to buy in Sydney.

But the 4 Corners report made no mention of any other part of Australia. Not even a passing mention of any other city – nothing on Brisbane, nothing on Adelaide, nothing on Perth, nothing on Hobart, and nothing on Darwin.

What about us?

And this is the single greatest problem with the negative gearing debate. It is being driven by politicians who live in Sydney and Melbourne and it is being debated by a media based in Sydney and Melbourne.

What Mr Knight didn’t mention was that greater Brisbane’s median house price is $498,000 which is around six times the annual average income. In Adelaide, with its median house price of $494,284, it’s seven times the average annual South Australian income and in Perth, where the median is $540,000, it’s six times the annual average WA income (according to ABS data).

Regional Queensland

These are levels in line with conditions in the market a decade ago. Nothing much has changed. And if you go out of the capital cities and venture into the regions, especially regional Queensland, the contrast is much more stark.

In Mackay, $328,000 will buy you a five bedroom home on 800sq m with a pool, just 3km from the town centre. More than 5000 investors in Mackay use negative gearing, but you could hardly make the case that first-home buyers are being pushed out of the market in Mackay. Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes will be detrimental throughout regional Queensland.