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May 8, 2024

Winter Home Maintenance Tips: A Guide for Homeowners

As the winter season approaches on the Mornington Peninsula, homeowners need to prepare their properties to withstand the challenges that winter weather brings. Proper winter maintenance not only ensures the comfort and safety of residents but also helps prevent costly damage to homes. In this article, we will outline essential winter home maintenance tips specifically tailored to the unique climate and conditions of the Mornington Peninsula. Roof Inspection: Inspect your roof for any signs of damage, such as cracked or missing tiles, worn-out flashing, or deteriorating sealant. Winter rains can exacerbate existing issues, leading to leaks and water damage. Addressing these problems before the colder weather sets in can prevent more significant issues down the line. Gutter Cleaning: Clear out any debris, such as leaves, twigs, and dirt, from your gutters and down pipes. Clogged gutters can lead to water overflow, which can damage your roof, siding, and foundation. Ensure that water can flow freely away from your home to prevent potential water ingress and flooding. Insulation Check: Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature and reducing energy costs during the winter months. Inspect your home's insulation, paying close attention to areas such as the roof space, walls, and floors. Consider adding or replacing insulation where needed to improve energy efficiency and keep your home warm. Heating System Maintenance: Before the onset of winter, schedule a professional inspection and maintenance service for your heating system. Clean or replace air filters, check for any issues with the heating unit, and ensure that all vents and ducts are clear of obstructions. Proper maintenance will help your heating system operate efficiently and reduce the risk of breakdowns during the colder months. Plumbing Precautions: Inspect external pipes for any leaking or weak spots to prevent potential water damage. Know the location of your main water shut-off valve in case of emergencies. Sealing Drafts: Check for drafts around windows, doors, and seal any gaps or cracks with weatherstripping or caulking. This will help keep warm air inside your home and improve energy efficiency. Exterior Maintenance: Trim overhanging tree branches and bushes to prevent damage from falling limbs during winter storms. Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks or gaps that could allow moisture or pests to enter, and seal them accordingly. Emergency Preparedness: Prepare an emergency kit with essentials such as flashlights, batteries, blankets, non-perishable food, and bottled water in case of power outages or severe weather events. By following these winter home maintenance tips, homeowners can ensure their properties are prepared to withstand the challenges of the colder months while maintaining comfort, safety, and energy efficiency.

Feb 13, 2024

2023 in Review: Dromana & Safety Beach Property Statistic Report

Are you looking to better understand the property market for 3936? This highly detailed report has everything you need! This contains everything you need to know about the property market for Dromana & Safety Beach. Download for free here: Dromana & Safety Beach Property Market Statistics Report

Jun 25, 2023

Is winter the hot time to sell this year?

The property market is in a very interesting place at the moment. We have prices increasing while interest rates are also on the rise. This means that affordability is worsening for buyers, yet sales volumes have also significantly increased. When people search for property, the total number of properties available is important. Buyers look at all the properties that are listed, and if they don't find suitable options or if the prices are too high, they ignore them. After that initial search, potential buyers wait for new properties to become available. Currently, there are very few properties on the market for buyers to choose from. Ideal selling conditions occur when prices are rising, demand is strong, and there is little competition. That's the market we are currently experiencing. At the beginning of 2023, it was predicted that national property prices would decrease by 7% to 10%, and many others made similar forecasts. However, these price falls haven't occurred due to the increase in sales during the first five months of this year and the very low number of properties available for sale. If there were a significant increase in the number of properties listed for sale, buyers would have more options and could negotiate bigger price discounts. This could lead to prices starting to decline again. During the winter season, which is the current time of year, many sellers choose not to list their properties for sale and wait until the spring season. If sellers wait until spring, there is a possibility that there will be a lot more properties available. Historically, the number of new listings tends to increase during that period. Over the past decade until 2022, there were on average 19.7% more new listings in spring compared to winter. Last year was the only exception, and if we look at the decade until 2021, the average increase was 21.4%. More properties for sale in spring give buyers more bargaining power and could slow down the recent increase in prices. In fact, auction clearance rates usually decrease during spring as the number of auctions goes up. What we know for certain is that property prices are currently rising, sales have significantly increased compared to late 2022, and there are very few properties available for purchase. Some sellers may recognize these conditions and decide to sell earlier. Waiting may result in increased competition and the uncertainties that come with selling in spring. Here are some statistics and figures if you want to delve deeper: (Source: REA PropTrack - Cameron Kusher, Director of Economic Research) Preliminary sales, which are the number of sales advised by agents, were lower in the second half of last year compared to 2020 and 2021. By the end of 2022, they were even lower than the sales recorded in 2020 and 2021, and similar to the levels in 2019. However, this year we have seen a significant improvement in preliminary sales. In May 2023, sales were only 0.6% lower than last year and higher than both 2019 and 2020. But they are still lower than the sales in 2021. Although prices and sales are rising, there hasn't been an increase in the number of properties available for sale. The amount of new properties being listed this year is much lower than last year. In May 2023, the number of new properties listed for sale was 16.8% lower than the same month last year. However, the total number of properties listed for sale was 3.3% higher compared to a year ago. Despite the increase over the year, the total listings were still very low, about 30.5% lower than the average of the past ten years.

Mar 23, 2023

Tips for Selling in a Slow Market

Selling a home in a slow market can be a challenging task, but with the help of a professional real estate agent, it can be made easier. A slow market is characterized by a high supply of homes for sale, but low demand from buyers. This means that it can take longer for a home to sell and prices may be lower than expected. However, with the right strategy and approach, you can sell your home in a slow market. In this article, we will discuss some tips for working with a real estate agent to help you sell your home in a slow market. Choose the right real estate agent: It's important to choose a real estate agent who has experience selling homes in a slow market. Look for an agent who has a good track record of success and who understands the local real estate market. A good agent will be able to help you price your home correctly, stage it effectively, and market it creatively. Price your home correctly: Pricing your home correctly is crucial in a slow market. Your agent will be able to help you set a realistic and competitive price that will attract potential buyers. They will look at comparable homes in your area that have sold recently and use this information to help you price your home accordingly. Stage your home: Staging your home is important in any market, but it's particularly important in a slow market. Your agent will be able to help you stage your home effectively to make it look as spacious and inviting as possible. They may recommend making minor cosmetic upgrades, such as fresh paint or updated hardware, to help increase its value. Market your home effectively: Your agent will be able to help you market your home effectively, using a variety of strategies to attract potential buyers. They will list your home on all the major real estate websites and social media platforms, and may also use professional photography and virtual tours to showcase your home. They may also recommend hosting an open house to generate interest. Be flexible with showing times: In a slow market, you may not have as many potential buyers as you would in a hot market. Therefore, it's important to be flexible with showing times. Your agent will be able to work with potential buyers to accommodate their schedules as much as possible, including evenings and weekends. Be patient: Selling a home in a slow market can take longer than in a hot market. Therefore, it's important to be patient and not get discouraged. Your agent will continue to market your home effectively and keep you informed of any developments. With the right strategy and approach, you will eventually find a buyer who is willing to make an offer. In conclusion, working with a real estate agent can help make selling a home in a slow market easier. By choosing the right agent, pricing your home correctly, staging it effectively, marketing it creatively, being flexible with showing times, and being patient, you can sell your home in a slow market. Remember that it may take longer than expected, but with the right approach, you will eventually find a buyer.

Feb 2, 2023

The Housing Market Shows Signs of Stabilising!

We hope you had a happy and safe Christmas and New Years! Welcome to 2023, lets make this year a great one! Here is a market update for our local area: After a prolonged period of decline, the Mornington Peninsula and wider Melbourne housing market is showing signs of stabilising, providing a glimmer of hope for homeowners and investors alike. Despite the challenges faced in recent years, there are several reasons to be optimistic about the future of the housing market. Firstly, the decline in housing prices in the Mornington Peninsula has started to slow down, with some markets even showing signs of growth. This stabilisation trend is expected to continue in the coming months, as more buyers and investors enter the market and demand for housing increases. Overall, Melbourne house prices nudged marginally higher over the December quarter. Despite this improvement, houses prices experienced the steepest annual decline in nearly 4 years. House prices are now 5.6 per cent lower compared to the December 2021 peak. However, they are a substantial 17.2 per cent higher than before the pandemic property boom. Another factor contributing to the positive outlook of the Mornington Peninsula housing market is the  rumours of interest rates also stabilising. The Reserve Bank of Australia has been keeping interest rates relatively low in order to not shock the economy. With an expected rate rise coming in February when the RBA meets, there are many economists and property experts stating this may be one of the last rises we see this year, they are even saying that we might see a decrease in interest rates later in the year. This trend is expected to continue in the future, further fueling demand for housing and contributing to the overall growth of the sector. However, this comes with a caveat. The caveat is the big elephant in the room, inflation. The December quarter figures came in higher than expected at 7.8 per cent, increasing by 1.9 per cent in the three months to December. Indications are showing that we have passed peak inflation and the hope is it starts to decline and the RBA back off on rate rises. In addition, the Mornington Peninsula has always been a popular destination for those seeking a coastal escape, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. They don't make land anymore! Another factor contributing to the positive outlook of the housing market is the strong economic conditions in the area. The region has a low unemployment rate, a stable economy, and a strong business community, which has helped to create a healthy environment for the housing market to thrive. In conclusion, the Mornington Peninsula housing market slowdown appears to be losing momentum, with several positive indicators pointing to a stabilisation. With a positive economic outlook, a desirable coastal lifestyle, and a strong economy, the future is looking bright for the Mornington Peninsula, providing a ray of hope for homeowners and investors alike.

Jun 7, 2022

Car-sleepers rise amid housing crisis

BY LIZ BELLMAY 16, 2022UPDATED:MAY 17, 2022 Source: Car-sleepers rise amid housing crisis - MPNEWS FAMILIES are sleeping in their cars in petrol stations and other public car parks around the Mornington Peninsula, as housing affordability and the rental crisis worsens. At the all-night BP stations on Peninsula Link in Baxter, every night at least two cars – sometimes more – pull up in the anonymity of nightfall and park for the night. The wife of a truckie who sees the despair and dilemma of the car sleepers and contacted The News to say it was heartbreaking and more should be done. At Rosebud and Rye foreshores rough sleepers and people in cars have access to some all-night toilets and wash rooms. The drivers find a parking space far enough away to give the illusion of privacy, but close enough to access amenities and provide some semblance of cleanliness and order. Some curl up on their own with a sleeping bag or clothes for blankets, while others fuss around their children to settle them in for the night. It is a routine many are now used to, since rents have soared, and housing investors target the peninsula. As revealed this year by market researched CoreLogic, seven of the state’s top eight postcodes for rental increases between January 2020 and 2022 are on peninsula. In June 2021, the peninsula’s median house price was $1.12 million, and the median rent was $520 a week – higher than greater Melbourne. In some areas prices continue to soar. Rye, Sorrento, Dromana and McCrae have all recorded an annual growth of least 20 per cent, Council to Homeless Persons CEO Jenny Smith says homelessness across the peninsula is getting worse. “We know at least half of peninsula renters are in financial stress, amid surging rents and an undersupply of social housing,” she said. There are nearly 400 households in the region supported by the From Homeless to a Home program, but the recent state budget saw its allocation slashed 78 per cent. The state government has announced an affordable housing rental scheme to address the gap in housing affordability and supply for low to moderate income households experiencing rental stress. As part of the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, Homes Victoria’s rental scheme will provide an extra 2400 affordable rental homes in regional Victoria. Under the program, fixed-term rental agreements will be offered for a minimum three years. But the announcements are cold comfort for rough sleepers, or those on waiting lists. “When the government promised rough sleepers a home for life and long-term support to get and stay well, it was one of the too few good things to come from the pandemic,” Smith said. She said the sector had been blindsided by the closure of the successful COVID-instigated emergency housing program, where people were accommodated in hotels and then given short-term housing. Now the government has announced a new measure to tackle the housing crisis, but there was not much on offer for rough sleepers. The announcement of $75 million to tackle homelessness over three years will provide capital investment and over time some additional services, but the peak body for Victorian homelessness services warns there no soft landing for rough sleepers. “Homelessness is more than missing out on a safe bed at night – it creates insecurity which conspires to deprive people of work, education and social opportunities,” Smith said. Mornington Peninsula Shire declared a housing crisis in 2021 and, in 2022, announced the release of public land for “affordable housing” (“Neighbours fear ‘ghetto-like’ housing” The News 4/4/22). Salvation Army head of homelessness, Peter McGrath, says the crisis needs a whole of government approach. He said rough sleeping was taking hold on the peninsula again following the 31 January end of the government’s COVID emergency accommodation plan that saw 1800 homeless people temporarily accommodated in hotels and motels across the state. “That was a short-term fix, but we need a longer-term solution that see all levels of government working together, with housing-focussed programs that provide accommodation and support,” McGrath said. He said the state government’s Big Housing Build was “fantastic”, but not a quick fix. He said the government’s soon-to-be-released 10-year housing strategy would give providers drive and direction. “That’s the framework, that’s the great driver for us,” he said. “There are great resources already out there, there are great people doing great work, but we need a long-term driver and a strategy.”

Mar 30, 2022

Pre-election budget criticised

Source: Pre-election Budget Criticised for Short-Term Fizz, Not Long-Term Fixes (realestate.com.au) Author: Megan Neil - 30 Mar 2022 The big spending pre-election budget provides short-term relief for households struggling with rising cost of living pressures but has been criticised for failing to provide long-term solutions. The budget delivers $8.6 billion worth of temporary cost of living measures at a time of rising inflation, with some experts warning they will add to inflationary pressures ahead of an interest rate hike that may come as soon as June. While the budget attracted the usual mixed reaction, both the Committee for Economic Development of Australia and the Australian Council of Social Service slammed its reliance on short-term quick fixes. CEDA chief economist Jarrod Ball said the budget's focus on temporary measures to alleviate rising costs of living will be welcomed by many. "But the budget has only taken modest steps to permanently lift the capacity of households to navigate the growing pressures on the economy," Mr Ball said. "The $8.6 billion of cost of living measures mostly benefit income earners and motorists, with many income support recipients receiving the least relief from cost of living pressures. "With growing inflationary pressures and interest rate rises on the horizon, cost of living pressures will not dissipate any time soon and these measures do not provide a long-term solution." More than 10 million low- and middle-income earners will get a one-off $420 cost of living tax offset, six million welfare recipients receive a one-off $250 cost of living payment, and the fuel excise has been halved for six months. ACOSS chief executive officer Dr Cassandra Goldie attacked the "flash in the pan budget", saying much of the assistance goes to people who don't need it and too little goes to those who need support. "This budget is full of temporary fixes, when we need permanent solutions," Dr Goldie said. The fuel excise cut would have been better spent lifting income support and boosting social and affordable housing, she said. "Unfortunately, although the government says this is a cost of living budget, it fails to deal with the biggest cost of living, which is housing. Perversely, the housing measures it contains will very likely push up house prices and make housing affordability worse." Treasurer Josh Frydenberg defended the cost of living measures, describing them as being targeted, responsible and delivered at a time when Australians needed it most. "The measures we announced last night were responsible, they were targeted, they were temporary, and they were designed to provide cost of living relief for Australians who need it most," Mr Frydenberg said on Wednesday. The budget papers note inflation is expected to rise to 4.25% through the year to the June quarter of 2022, reflecting higher global oil prices and ongoing supply chain pressures as well as price pressures in the housing construction sector. But Mr Frydenberg said inflation is then expected to start to moderate, which will help alleviate some of the cost pressures faced by households. The fuel excise reduction is expected to reduce headline inflation by a quarter of a percentage point in the June quarter, he added. Westpac Group chief executive officer Peter King said the budget strikes the right balance. "With many Australians paying higher prices, this support will make a difference," Mr King said. "Together with major commitments on infrastructure projects across the nation, more work on wage subsidies for apprentices and incentives for businesses to hire them, the budget strikes the right balance between providing much needed short-term assistance and lifting Australia's long-term growth potential." The federal government is expected to soon call an election for May. An interest rate rise is on the way Some economists warned the budget's cost of living measures will add to inflationary pressures, although they have not changed their expectations for when the Reserve Bank of Australia will lift the cash rate from the record low 0.1%. "The cost of living payments announced in the budget will add to near-term demand and inflation pressures in an economy where rising inflation is already a concern," Commonwealth Bank of Australia economists said, noting the fuel excise cut will reduce inflation in the second quarter. CBA chief economist Stephen Halmarick said the extra stimulus the pre-election budget will apply to the economy is relatively muted. "However, given rising inflation and strong employment and wages growth, we maintain our view that the Reserve Bank of Australia will raise interest rates in the near-term, with an initial increase to 0.25% expected in June this year, rising to a peak of 1.25% in early 2023," Mr Halmarick said. Borrowers have been advised to prepare for an interest rate rise, which could happen this year. Picture: Getty AMP chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said the budget provides a "magic election pudding" of more spending but lower deficits. "The pre-election cash splash… risks overstimulating the economy at a time when it is already strong, further adding to inflationary pressures and adding to the amount by which the RBA will have to hike interest rates," Dr Oliver said. He said the extra stimulus in the budget increases the chance that the first rate hike in June will be a 40 basis points rise rather than 15 basis points. That would take the cash rate to 0.5%, with AMP expecting it to reach 1% by the end of the year. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said the total spending in the budget is a bit more than expected but he did not expect the measures to massively increase demand and change the RBA's thinking. "It's a bit more than I expected but I don't think it's enough to say shock horror - the Reserve Bank governor will go to work tomorrow and say we must raise interest rates," Mr Evans said. Mr Evans, who expects the first rate increase will be in August, noted the RBA board is still being patient and is in a "wait and see" mode. National Australia Bank economists also noted "there is as much politics in this budget as economics", but said the budget did not change their expectations for monetary policy. "The RBA will move soon to moderately increase rates - we expect that process to start by August this year," the NAB economists said. Housing supply remains a key issue Property industry groups have praised the budget's key housing measures but also warned supply remains a major issue in addressing affordability challenges. The budget’s major housing initiatives were an additional $2 billion in low-cost financing to community housing providers and a significant expansion of schemes helping first-home buyers struggling to save a deposit as property prices surge. Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said Australia's economic recovery has been remarkable and the budget confirmed strong conditions are likely in the year ahead. "However, it is clear that the budget results are contingent on a strong bounce back in population growth and there are risks that falling housing supply also becomes a looming drag on the economy," Mr Morrison said. The budget highlights the extent of the housing supply crisis, predicting dwelling investment levels will drop from 5% growth in 2021/22 into negative territory (minus 0.5%) by 2023/24, he pointed out. "Both HomeBuilder and the expanded Home Guarantee Scheme are welcome demand-side measures, and cannot address the supply-side issues which increase the cost of new homes," he said. Industry groups say more needs to be done to tackle the issue of housing supply, including in regional areas. Picture: Getty The Urban Development Institute of Australia said the budget backs the housing and construction industry to prime the economic recovery and start tackling the affordability crisis. "The federal government budget delivers on some important areas which will drive the economic recovery, bringing back migration and stripping away some of the barriers to delivering housing supply," UDIA national president Max Shifman said. "The importance of boosting supply across the housing spectrum cannot be underestimated - without it, the escalating affordability crisis will tip more and more Australians into crisis and overwhelm government funding." The UDIA also said the government's $120 billion in infrastructure funding over 10 years will pave the way for state and territory governments to deliver the enabling infrastructure to deliver a pipeline of development-ready land. "Lack of major and enabling infrastructure is blocking delivery of housing across Australia - these initiatives are crucial to righting the imbalance housing market," Mr Shifman said. With the Home Guarantee Scheme doubling to 50,000 places a year for the next three years, including a new program targeted at regional areas, PropTrack economist Angus Moore said the expansion will help some first-home buyers get into the market sooner in the short term. "But if we're serious about solving housing affordability, the only long-term solution is to build more homes where people want to live," Mr Moore said. Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella questioned whether the scheme's expansion went far enough to have a meaningful impact, also calling for all levels of government to address housing affordability and supply. "While expanding the Home Guarantee Scheme is a good start and definitely a step in the right direction, it must be acknowledged that 50,000 places is not nearly enough to meet national demand," Ms Mercorella said. Real Estate Institute of Australia president Hayden Groves said the "budget for the times" is great for home ownership but the future of housing supply needs to be tackled by all levels of government. "Until this is addressed, the right supply mix within our existing housing stock and new homes affordability is unlikely to improve in the near term." Mr Groves said people can be reluctant to list their home for sale or rent during pre-election periods, but they should be reassured by the budget. "With a budget that deals directly with inflationary pressures, contains a moderate outlook for interest rates and supports key investment measures like negative gearing retaining bipartisan support, Australians should move forward with plans to sell and capitalise on the current strong market." Affordable housing boost criticised as not enough The budget lifts the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation's lending capability to $5.5 billion, with the additional $2 billion in low-cost financing to community housing providers expected to support about 8000 more social and affordable dwellings. Mission Australia chief executive officer Sharon Callister said the increased NHFIC cap is welcome, but addressing the magnitude of need for affordable housing and homelessness service delivery will take much greater investment. "Australia is grappling with a housing affordability crisis, social housing waiting lists of more than 200,000 people and a rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments that leave many in poverty and unable to pay their rent," Ms Callister said. "We need urgent action from the federal government to provide long-term housing solutions that will address our social and affordable home shortfall." A number of advocacy groups have called for more investment in affordable and social housing. Picture: Getty Emma Greenhalgh, CEO of National Shelter which advocates for low-income households, said the only focus in the budget is on measures that "provide fuel to an already inflated market". "At a time of a national housing emergency, there is nothing on offer from the federal government to address the housing circumstances of households in greatest need," Ms Greenhalgh said. Everybody's Home national spokesperson Kate Colvin said the government's failure to invest in additional social and affordable housing will worsen the housing crisis for low to middle income Australians in the rental market. "People on low and modest incomes need real housing solutions, instead they are getting rhetoric and bandaids," she said.

Mar 10, 2022

Who’s to blame for Australia’s exploding property prices and housing affordability crisis?

Source: Who's To Blame For Australia's Exploding House Prices? (realestate.com.au) Author: Vanessa De Groot - 02/03/2022 But the difficulty many people face in buying their own home isn’t a modern challenge, but one that experts say began back in the late 1990s. House prices rose by a fairly modest 16% in the decade from 1990 to 2000, then surged by 88% in the noughties, before jumping by another 23% between 2010 and 2020, according to PropTrack data and adjusting for inflation. And over the past two years, values have absolutely skyrocketed despite the world being in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, house prices defied forecasts of a coronavirus-induced crash and went up by 7.5% and then last year, median values grew by a staggering 22.7%. In Sydney, Australia’s most expensive city, house values rose by 99% – effectively doubling – over the decade to January 2022, to reach a median price of $1.015 million, while Melbourne house prices rose 66% in that 10-year period to reach $780,000. AMP Capital Chief Economist Shane Oliver said the price-to-income ratio in Australia has more than doubled over the past two decades. The 2021 Demographia International Housing Affordability report found the house price-to-income median multiple is 7.7 times in Australia, compared to 4.8 times in the United Kingdom and 4.2 times in the United States. Melbourne is sitting at 9.7 times and Sydney at 11.8, with both classified as ‘severely unaffordable’. Price hikes have also seen the household debt-to-income ratio nearly triple over the past 30 years, Mr Oliver added. So how did we get here – and who or what is to blame for the country’s housing affordability woes? The fundamental issue driving price hikes The housing market is very complex, and a multitude of factors play into affordability, including land releases, tax policy, government incentives, banking regulation, overseas investor rules, immigration, employment, wages growth, and inflation. The blame game is regularly played, with fingers pointed at so-called wealthy landlords, money hungry developers, selfish baby boomers, invisible foreign investors, lazy governments, greedy banks, and out-of-touch figures at the Reserve Bank or Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Ask just about anyone their views on one or all those groups and the response is likely to be pretty fiery. Ultimately, however, the consensus among experts about the driver of housing affordability comes back to basic economics. There has been much more demand than supply for a long time, and until the two reach more of an equilibrium, property values will continue to grow, and affordability will worsen. Mr Oliver said while the demand and supply imbalance is mostly to blame for the deterioration in housing affordability, low interest rates are also a major factor alongside it. He said low rates play a significant role in prices rises over the past few years and are also one of the catalysts for the decline in housing affordability that started in the late 1990s. “It meant people could borrow more and therefore pay more for houses, and as we went into the 2000s housing started to become more and more expensive and less and less affordable,” Mr Oliver said. “But we also saw a lack of supply relative to demand at that time. It wasn’t that we were building less houses, but we were building less houses than we needed for the surge in immigration that occurred through the mining boom in the 2000s. “Something got out of whack in the 2000s when we massively increased the immigration intake but didn’t increase the supply of housing to match." While interest rates have also played a big role in housing affordability, the RBA isn’t to blame for rising house prices either, PropTrack Economist Angus Moore said. “While it’s unequivocally true that lower interest rates have raised house prices and made it harder for first-home buyers, it’s not the RBA’s role to make housing affordable,” Mr Moore said. “Its job is to make sure inflation is in the target band and keeping unemployment low, which is an important part of getting into the housing market. It’s very hard to get a mortgage without a job.” Mr Oliver pointed out that many countries around the world have low interest rates, but not all have had housing as expensive as Australia, demonstrating that the biggest issue is a lack of supply relative to demand. “In the US and Europe, the price-to-income ratio has gone up, but while it might be three or four times, it’s not like Australia at seven,” he said. “Ultimately it comes down to supply and demand, and unless you calibrate those two in a better way, we’ll have a going problem with housing affordability.” Real Estate Institute of Australia president Hayden Groves added that there is a social impetus behind the more rapid affordability decline over the past few years during the pandemic. People wanted a nicer dwelling as lockdowns forced them to be at home more, and they aspirationally invested in an environment where money was as cheap as it ever has been, Mr Groves said. Most of the growth then occurred in houses as opposed to units, he said, with demand outstripping supply. Who is to blame for the lack of supply? With a chronic undersupply relative to a growing population being the biggest issue for housing affordability, a significant portion of the blame can be put on governments. State governments need to release more land for development, and faster, while local governments need to speed up their development approval processes, Mr Oliver said. Meanwhile, the federal government controls immigration levels and tax policy, so things can also be done on that front to ease demand. Property Council of Australia chief Executive Ken Morrison said since the 1990s there has been a massive escalation in the complexity of planning, with the shifting of infrastructure charges onto developers. “We’ve also seen a dire lack of forward planning in the zoning of land and renewal areas for denser housing,” Mr Morrison said. “The picture is slightly different in every state and territory and local government area, but there is a clear need for Australia to get better at bringing new housing supply onto the market.” Mr Morrison said there is a stark difference in affordability between Sydney and Melbourne, which is due to supply and how the planning system is run, rather than the geographical constraints of land availability. “The New South Wales planning system is a long way from best practice,” he said. “The Victorian planning system is certainly not perfect, but over a long period of time the state has done a better job of managing the planning system to be in line with growth. “It’s about forward planning and ensuring plans on the ground match the housing targets that are set, having efficient processes, and ensuring you are not loading up too many costs onto new housing construction because at the end of the day the purchaser just pays for it.” When it comes to supply, decentralisation is also key, the experts agree. While people have moved to regional areas during the pandemic, governments historically haven’t done a great job to date of making sure these areas have enough supply or infrastructure. A better focus on this would continue to draw people away from capital cities, where high demand for scarce supply is driving competition and pushing prices up. Other factors contributing to the crisis Factors influencing supply and demand should be be taken into consideration in determining who or what is to blame for affordability issues. These include government incentives, particularly homebuyer grants and concessions, which are implemented to improve affordability but often do the exact opposite by inflating demand and prices. City Median home price Annual change 5-year change Sydney $1,015,000 19.4% 30.0% Melbourne $780,000 12.2% 30.0% Brisbane $570,000 11.4% 45.0% Canberra $770,000 18.4% 58.0% Adelaide $525,000 12.6% 41.0% Hobart $630,000 26.0% 96.0% Perth $500,000 7.5% 13.0% Darwin $500,000 25.0% 23.0% Government tax policy is also a consideration, with significant imposts placed on purchasing, such as hefty stamp duty charges, making housing more expensive. Stamp duty costs also discourage empty nesters from downsizing and freeing up larger housing stock for struggling families. Then there are tax breaks for investors, including negative gearing and capital gains discounts, which arguably increase demand and therefore buyer competition and prices, but also help with providing essential rental housing supply. The same can be said for overseas investors, who are often for pushing up demand and prices, but who also add to rental stock. Mr Oliver said tax concessions are a contributing factor, but pointed out that other countries also have them, but lack the affordability issues Australia has. Negative gearing at least has long been a feature of Australia’s tax system, before housing affordability became a real issue, he said. Foreign buyers also likely aren’t to blame given that Australian cities such as Adelaide and Perth don’t have a big proportion of overseas investors but have relatively unaffordable housing compared to other countries. Mr Oliver also pointed out that there were few, if many foreign buyers active in the market last year, during which property prices ballooned. Will housing affordability worsen this year? Housing affordability will continue to be a challenge this year, but it will be more challenging for some than others. Mr Moore said roughly one-third of Australians own their own home outright, which means housing is affordable for them no matter what. But for existing mortgage holders, housing affordability will get worse over the next 12 to 18 months as repayments become more expensive with rising interest rates, he said. “For first-home buyers, it is accessibility that matters – can you save the deposit you need to be able to get a mortgage?” Mr Moore said. “As prices have risen, it is accessibility that has worsened.” On top of that, housing affordability will get worse this year for those at lower ends of the market, with interest rate rises in addition to expected price growth of 6% to 9% across the capital cities, as predicted by PropTrack. However, Mr Groves said wages are starting to pick up now and unemployment continues to fall, so the house price-to-income ratio is starting to close a little.