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Housing affordability continues to improve
Released 8 December 2011



The HIA-Commonwealth Bank Housing Affordability Index improved by 1.2 per cent in the
September 2011 quarter and lies 5.2 per cent above the level registered a year ago.     

HIA’s Senior Economist Andrew Harvey said continued earnings growth and a small decrease in mortgage lending rates worked to further improve housing affordability in the September 2011 quarter.

“These factors more than offset a modest increase in the median house price,” Harvey said.

“Affordability looks to now be trending in the right direction and with interest rate cuts in November and December we will hopefully see this trend continue. However, potential home buyers should be aware that these underlying factors could see housing return to sustained price growth at some stage in 2012.”

He said this possibility combined with an easing in the pressure for skilled trades means that now is shaping up as a good time to buy a new home for those financially able to do so.

In the most recent quarter average weekly ordinary time earnings posted respectable growth of 1.2 per cent and mortgage lending rates were down by 0.03 percentage points. Meanwhile home prices rose by 0.3 per cent although they were down by 2.7 per cent over the year.

Housing affordability in the September 2011 quarter improved in Australia’s capital cities with the exception of Hobart. Sydney improved by 1.9 per cent, Melbourne by 0.8 per cent, Brisbane by 0.7 per cent, Adelaide by 4.5 per cent, Perth by 0.4 per cent, and Canberra by 1.8 per cent. Hobart’s affordability declined by 0.5 per cent over the quarter.

Outside of the capital cities, affordability improved in all non-metropolitan regions. New South Wales improved by 1.2 per cent, Victoria by 1.6 per cent, Queensland by 0.3 per cent, Western Australia by 1.3 per cent, South Australia by 6.6 per cent and Tasmania by 0.1 per cent.