Homeownership has always been the Great Australian Dream — but did one generation really have it tougher breaking into the housing market over the other?
It appears that the debate surrounding which generation of homebuyers — baby boomers or millennials — struggled more has never been resolved. Market watchers however try to explain that each generation faced different circumstances and factors, which makes both their struggles valid.
CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless stated that many millennials believed things would get difficult because of the significant increase in house prices in the boom years.
According to Business Insider Australia, ninety percent of millennials believe that buying their first home is difficult and will have difficulty getting in.
According to CoreLogic’s Perception of Housing Affordable, one in two Australians thinks that housing affordability is better than it was last year. However, there are tell-tale signs that point to a persistent affordability crisis many have already come to terms with, CoreLogic’s latest Perceptions of Housing Affordability report shows.
Three hurdles often confront millennials looking to purchase a house.
“First, they need to raise a deposit. Next, they must get approval for a loan. The financial services royal commission has made this more difficult. CoreLogic International CEO Lisa Claes stated that stamp duty must be paid on an average of 3% of the purchase price.
The deposit hurdle can be overcome
Lawless stated that the minimum home-loan deposit required by most lenders and banks is one of the biggest barriers to homeownership.
“Australians believe that deposit is the hardest part of getting into the market. Considering the fact that lenders now require 20% deposits, he stated.
In fact, it would almost take a decade for most Australians to save for a home-loan deposit — with the anaemic growth in wages, doing so has become more difficult.
Today’s dwelling-to-household income ratio is 6.5 to 1. The average Australian household will spend 6.5 times their annual gross income to purchase a house of median price at $524,000.
“Twenty-years ago, the average ratio was about four and a quarter times. Nowadays, the ratio is usually between six and seven times. Lawless stated, “It’s evident that getting in the market is a more challenging issue than it used to be.”
Low interest environment
Lawless said that the affordability of housing doesn’t necessarily mean that millennials have it more difficult than boomers, particularly when interest rates and taxes are considered.
Another indicator of affordability is the mortgage rate. While homebuyers today enjoy record-low mortgage interest rates, 1990-era borrowers were subject to higher home loan costs.
“Boomers were paying off their mortgages at the same rate as 17% interest rates. Lawless explained that while the asking price of these houses was much lower, servicing your mortgage was more difficult once you have bought.
It has been difficult to be a homeowner.
Lawless said that it was not easy to get into the housing market.
He explained that it was more comfortable to reduce debt in these times, but younger homebuyers with no savings or equity would find it more difficult.
“I’ve been a property analysts for over 20 years and I can honestly tell you that affordability has always been an issue,” said he.