Aussies putting 37% of income towards mortgage repayments: REIA

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Housing affordability in Australia continued to worsen over the December quarter, with recent research putting the proportion of income required to meet home loan repayments at 37 per cent.

Data from the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) showed housing affordability declined across most states and territories, ranging from a 0.1 per cent drop in Western Australia to a 5.9 per cent drop in New South Wales.

In New South Wales, residents were directing the highest proportion of household income (46.5 per cent) towards their mortgage.

Meanwhile, Victorian households needed to set aside 37.3 per cent of their income to make repayments each month.

Across all buyer types, the average loan amount rose to $590,482 — an increase of 3.5 per cent over the quarter and 17.7 per cent over the past 12 months. 

REIA president Hayden Groves said this was the largest annual increase recorded since the Housing Affordability Report began in 2002.

He noted that borrowers’ capacity to service a mortgage could worsen as interest rates rise in the coming months and called on the government to combat surging property prices by boosting supply.

"We are urging governments to get on the front foot with this issue by prioritising housing supply shortages which is the most effective way of getting affordability under control," he said. 

RELATED: 5 things you should know about the Australian property market in 2022

For first home buyers, who tend to set their sights on more affordable properties, the average loan size increased to $470,548 — 2.5 per cent higher than the previous quarter and 12.9 per cent higher than this time last year.

While the property market has lost some steam as of late (with prices rising by just 0.6 per cent over February according to CoreLogic), it’s still sitting pretty after capital city home values surged more than 25 per cent over 2021. 

That news will be well-received by current homeowners, but it’s less likely to be appreciated by younger Australians hoping to take their first steps on the property ladder.

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggests that fatigue among first home buyers is starting to set in, with the number of new owner occupier loans to first home buyers falling by 32.6 per cent in the 12 months to January 2022.

For more information on mortgage and lending trends, visit our home loans statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

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