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Aug 29, 2013

New ABS figures highlight looming mortgage risks

Today’s ABS release Housing Occupancy and Costs 2011-12 have shown the unreliability of housing affordability measures that rely on interest rates, according to affordable housing advocates.

‘Today’s figures from the ABS show the precarious situation for mortgage holders on Australia. Despite interest rates being at historical lows, affordability is no better than it was in 1996. In July 1996 interest rates as set by the RBA were 7.5%, in July 2013 they were 2.75%. And yet the ABS figures tell us that Australian’s are paying no less now than they were then.’

‘Interest rates are at historical lows, and at the first sign of economic stability they will rise. A slight increase in rates will have a big impact on affordability, and the Government needs to take action now to prepare for that.’

‘Because of higher prices, today’s first home buyers are paying much higher mortgage repayments than 15 years ago. Average first home loans have more than tripled since 1996. Average weekly earnings have only doubled in that time. This is putting massive pressure on first home buyers.

‘The ABS has also released figures today showing that, in seasonably adjusted terms, housing construction has actually slowed. We have a massive shortage of housing and residential construction has shrunk.

‘Low interest rates are simply pushing up prices without helping new construction. This is a recipe for disaster, and Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott need to take responsibility.’

‘Neither leader has offered a plan for fixing the housing crisis, which is worsening. In failing to do so, they are showing contempt for the Australian people. One of them will be forced to react to a deepening housing crisis as Prime Minister after the election, and voters deserve to know how they will respond.’

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations working together to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit

For enquiries, case studies and interviews contact Joel Pringle, 0427 563 989

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed


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