Is this the time to make great Aussie dream a reality?
IT IS a dream that many Australians have grown up with - owning our own home.
Having that collection of bricks and mortar - or weatherboard and iron - to call your own; that you can renovate and adapt to suit your style, consider a firm asset and eventually sell when you are ready for a change.
But with the average home price in many parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales in some cases tripling over the past 25 years, is owning your own home still a reality for the average Australian?
REIQ data shows that the annual change in the median price in Queensland alone over 10 years, largely based on Brisbane prices, was an increase of 4.5%.
The median sale price for Brisbane was a substantial $480,000 - although this seems relatively affordable when compared to $745,000 in Sydney and even $565,000 in Darwin.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said home ownership rates had held relatively steady in Queensland since 2006.
"According to the most recent data, around one in three Queenslanders own their home outright, another third are paying off a home with a mortgage and the remaining third are renters," she said.
"The higher rates of mortgages are a reflection of the change in the type of property ownership.
"Owning your own home has always been seen as the great Australian dream, but there's an increasing trend towards owning more than one property.
"That's why we are seeing higher mortgage rates, as people use the equity in their homes to refinance in order to purchase an investment property."
While prices may have risen, the current drop in interest rates has given some reprieve to home owners who now have the flexibility to negotiate a home loan to suit their earnings.
The Reserve Bank cut the cash rate to 2.25% this month, bringing it to the lowest point since the 1990s, after it had remained unchanged for 17 months.
Australian Government Financial Literacy Board chairman Paul Clitheroe said the rate cut would put money back in the pockets of home loan borrowers through lower monthly repayments.
"This is good news, and plans to secure better deals coupled with lower home loan interest rates will hopefully leave many households better off this year," he said.
For first home buyers thinking of buying or building a new home, this is even greater incentive considering the Queensland Government's one-off $15,000 Great Start Grant - only for new or substantially renovated homes - is already in place.
Home ownership - the facts
- One-third of Queensland households own their home, one-third have a mortgage, one-third are renting.
- The three-bedroom house is by far the most common type of dwelling in Australia.
- Of the 8.4 million households living in private dwellings in 2009-10, 79% were living in separate houses, 11% in flats, units or apartments, and 10% in semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses.
- Local government areas with the lowest home ownership rates are mostly in the Northern Territory and far north Queensland.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are over-represented in low home ownership figures.
- Between 2006 and 2011, home ownership rates decreased in most LGAs in every Australian state and territory.
- Between 2002-03 and 2010-11, project home prices increased by an average of 40%, while established house prices increased by an average of 71%.
- Average home loan sizes increased along broadly similar lines
- In 2009-10, owners without a mortgage had the lowest housing costs, averaging $36 per week, or 3% of gross household income. Owners with a mortgage had the highest housing costs, averaging $408 per week or 18% of their gross household income.
- Among renters, housing costs averaged $119 per week for households renting from a state or territory housing authority and more than double that ($305) for households renting from a private landlord.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics