Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Adam Carr Wrong on Australia's Housing Affordability

Adam Carr had this to say on housing affordability in Australia (via Business Spectator)...
"...housing is still actually very affordable."
Carr was prepared to dive head first into showing how an $800,000 property is affordable on a $100,000 salary.
"A household on $150,000 could afford a $1 million-plus house -- no dramas. Someone on $100,000 could afford anything in the vicinity of $650,000 to $800,000. A lot depends on the loan-to-value ratio they’re taking -- I’ve used 70 per cent -- but it can be done."
Ok, let's break this down. $100,000 would be roughly $73,000 net, $1403/week. Carr is working from a position that they've saved a 30% (+ costs) deposit. Using $32,000 for stamp duty and fees (I went with NSW figures) and ignoring any other transaction costs (such as legals)... that's $272,000 required in savings (the deposit) before we can even start checking the affordability of the remaining mortgage. Based on a savings rate of 30% of net income ($21,900 per year, very generous if you ask me), it has potentially taken this buyer more than 12 years to save the deposit that Carr says they have on hand. That should already be raising alarm bells on this so called "very affordable" property market we have.

Now we could make any number of assumptions about this buyer, maybe he/she had property that appreciated in value before buying this one, maybe they have bank of mum and dad chipping in, maybe they're a gun investor who has turned a little savings into a lot of capital to fund the deposit... but these would be unfair presumptions to make. We could scale back the price and incomes at a comparable ratio and it would still look awful... e.g. someone on $50,000 buying a $400,000 property (for their first home) and using a $135,000 deposit will have to save for 10+ years using the same measure.

The mortgage repayments (on the remaining $560,000 loan) work out to $655 weekly (at 4.5% interest over 30 years). That's over 46% of net pay (34% of gross) and doesn't take into consideration the extra costs of ownership such as council rates, maintenance, insurance and more. It also doesn't take into consideration the possibility of interest rates rising, if they normalised to 7% the repayments would rise to $860 per week (61% of net income, 44% of gross).

Call me mad, but I don't consider Carr's examples to show affordable property any way you cut it (at least not in the way I think the word should be used)...

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