The data was taken from the 2016 Housing Affordability study, which was conducted by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), Shelter WA, and the Housing Authority. The study found that between 2013 and 2015, more than 55% of the 110,799 houses and units sold in Perth were affordable only for households with an income of more than $102,000 a year.
Hayden Groves, president of REIWA, said there was a big divide between those who could afford homes in metropolitan Perth and those who couldn’t.
“Given that some of the statistics show that 43 per cent of households are in that low or very low-income bracket…that is of great concern…given that less than 10 per cent of private homes or apartments are available for those 43 per cent of people who are on those low or very low incomes,” Groves said.
“We’ve had prices grow far [more quickly] in the property sector than we have seen wages grow.”
The report also indicated that low-income earners were more likely to buy on the fringes of the metropolitan area, with Perth’s south west and the Peel region deemed the most affordable areas.
Shelter WA, an organisation that works to end housing poverty and homelessness in Western Australia, notes that location is a “critical component” of housing affordability. “The cost of transportation, repairs and maintenance, utilities, and time spent commuting add to the overall cost of housing.”
The private sector was seriously behind when it came to providing affordable housing. “Generally speaking, private providers of housing want to maximise their outcomes rather than minimise them, so there’s a fundamental issue there that’s going to be very hard to address in our current system,” Groves said.
According to housing minister Brendon Grylls, while the property market has softened somewhat (which has improved affordability for some), those earning the lowest incomes were still finding it hard to find affordable housing.
“With over 80 per cent of sales being larger properties, it’s also evident that there’s a lack of diversity in Perth’s housing stock,” he said.
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