Despite the two-year old property slump, buyers continue to struggle to find homes for less than $500,000 in the inner suburbs of many of Australia’s largest cities.
That price threshold, which is more than nine times average yearly earnings, puts housing in the inner parts of Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Canberra all but out of reach, new research shows.
The country’s continuing problem with affordability comes despite capital city house values falling 0.4 per cent this year on the back of a 4 per cent decline in 2011, according to RP Data.
The property analyst group has identified Waterloo as Sydney’s ‘‘most affordable’’ inner suburb with a median house value of $631,830. Mascot, the tenth most affordable, is $754,718.
Melbourne, where prices fell 3.3 per cent over the year, has only one inner suburb with a median value below half a million dollars. This is the working-class but now gentrifying suburb of Maidstone, where a house is $475,318. Many once similar socio-economic areas in the city’s north and west like Footscray, Coburg and Pascoe Vale South now have house prices of up to $583,989.
In Brisbane, the most affordable suburb is Rocklea at $306,761 but prices quickly escalate above $440,000 in areas such as Virginia, Stafford Heights and Mount Gravatt.
Darwin has no inner suburban area price below $500,000, while Canberra has only three. Clarendon Vale in Hobart was the nation’s most affordable suburb with a median of $158,949.
RP Data has branded the performance of the national housing market as ‘‘comparatively weak’’ over 2012, and conditions were likely to remain ‘‘flat’’ in many – but not all – cities and regions next year.
‘‘Property markets in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin, where home values have corrected more than the other capital cities, may be the markets to watch for improving conditions,’’ said RP data research analyst Cameron Kusher, noting signs of recovery were being seen in Perth and Darwin.
‘‘On the other hand, markets such as in Melbourne where capital gains have had a strong run are more likely to see weaker conditions.’’
The report also identified the Western Australian wheatbelt town of Moora as the best performing area in the country over the year, witnessing a 50 per cent growth in the median house value.
Meanwhile, the mining boom put rents in Port Hedland at a whopping $2300 per week.