Affordable housing options even in most expensive capital city markets: RP Data's Cameron Kusher

Affordable housing options even in most expensive capital city markets: RP Data's Cameron Kusher
Affordable housing options even in most expensive capital city markets: RP Data's Cameron Kusher

The most recent data on median home values shows that there are still affordable housing options across our most expensive capital city markets.

Housing affordability has been one of the most significant barriers to entry into home ownership across the country, particularly for first-time buyers. The relatively high cost of housing within the major regions of the country means that some have abandoned hopes of ever owning a home.

Although housing can be expensive in the most populous areas of the cities, the data shows that there are opportunities in most regions to enter into the housing market at relatively affordable prices; you just need to know where to look. Of course, most of these suburbs are going to be located further away from the city centre or buyers will have to purchase higher-density housing product rather than a detached house.

Within the detached housing market, 47.9% of suburbs throughout the combined capital cities have a median house value of less than $500,000 with 27.9% less than $400,000. Across regional markets there are a much higher proportion of suburbs with a median house value below $500,000 (87.4%).

Across the individual capital city markets, 92.1% of suburbs in Hobart have a median house value below $500,000, followed by: Adelaide (63.2%), Brisbane (60.5%) and Melbourne (44.9%). On the other hand, Darwin has far fewer suburbs with a median house value below $500,000 (16.4%) as do: Canberra (24.5%), Sydney (37.0%) and Perth (41.4%).

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Source: RP Data

Despite the fact that all cities except Hobart, Adelaide and Brisbane have a majority of suburbs with a median value above $500,000, there are still quite a large number of suburbs with values below $500,000 throughout most cities.

For those who simply can't afford the price of purchasing a detached house, the unit market offers a significantly greater opportunity to enter into ownership at a more affordable price point.


 

Across the combined capital cities, 81.2% of suburbs have a median unit value below $500,000 with 27.6% of suburbs below $300,000. Within regional markets of the country, 96% of all suburbs have a median unit value below $500,000 with 68.8% of suburbs having a median unit value below $300,000.

Across each individual capital city market, a majority of suburbs have a median unit value below $500,000. Once again, Hobart has the greatest number of suburbs below this benchmark (100%) followed by: Adelaide (96.5%), Brisbane (94.5%) and Darwin (88.9%). All other capital cities show a majority of suburbs below $500,000. However, Sydney has the lowest proportion (62.1%), followed by Perth (80.5%), Canberra (84.9%) and Melbourne (85.1%).


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Source: RP Data

The results indicate that the unit market provides a greater level of opportunity to enter into home ownership at a more affordable price point. Of course, units tend to not be as desirable as houses for many prospective buyers due to a number of factors, including the higher density of the population and the fact that units incur body corporate levies/regulations and, as a result, residents don't necessarily have the same freedoms as with a detached house.

Although units may not be as desirable as a detached house, it is important to note that they are often more abundant in inner city suburbs which have high levels of local amenity. As a result of this, they also enable residents to live in those suburbs in which they desire to live but could simply not afford to own a detached home.  A great example of this is a suburb like Sydney's Mosman; the median house value is out of reach of most purchasers at $2,143,585. However, the median unit value is a much more attainable $593,655 (albeit still quite expensive).

Housing affordability is likely to continue to be an issue for many Australians looking to enter into home ownership despite recent falls to mortgage rates and home values. The alternatives for those looking to enter the market at affordable price points appear fairly clear: outer more affordable suburbs, select regional markets or higher density housing options. Many aspire to owning a home in a highly sought after suburb. However, the reality is that this is an unlikely prospect for most of the population.

Cameron Kusher is senior research analyst at RP Data.

This article originally appeared on SmartCompany.

Sydney apartment building image by Brian Yap courtesy of Flickr.

Cameron Kusher

Cameron Kusher

Cameron Kusher is senior research analyst at CoreLogic RP Data.

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