There’s been a lot of talk about housing affordability recently, hasn’t there?

Well, there are some surprising findings in the recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) biennial publication “Housing Occupancy and Costs”  for the 2019/20 financial year.

According to the ABS housing affordability for homeowners paying off a mortgage has improved to its best level in almost 30 years.

On the other hand, the number of Australians who are homeowners is just over 66%, equalling the lowest share since 1994/95.

Here are some more details.

Improved housing affordability?

One of the key findings was that a measure of housing affordability for homeowners with a mortgage improved over the period of this recently released report – from 2017/18 to 2019/20.

In fact, the ratio of housing costs to income was the lowest in data stretching back to the start of the series in 1990.

Improved Housing Affordability

But obviously, the landscape has changed since June 2020 (the date referenced in the report.)

Interest rates have fallen but are now starting to rise, home prices have risen and household incomes have also risen so the jury is out on how this has translated to current affordability.

Not surprisingly the share of households living in apartments stands at a record 16.6 per cent.

But it’s likely that in the following two Covid years after the reporting period, more Aussies moved to free-standing houses.

It will be interesting to see whether this trend will continue in the ‘living with Covid’ environment.

It’s likely that challenges with housing affordability will mean more people return to apartment living.

Proportion Of Aussies Living In An Apartment

Declining homeownership

In spite of these improvements in housing affordability, the share of people owning their homes outright or paying off a mortgage remains historically low.

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