Home-Owners Spend Less Income on Mortgages than they Did a Decade Ago

The average mortgagee spends 16 per cent of their household income on housing — down from 19 per cent a decade ago. 

The figures released on Friday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2005-06, owners with a mortgage paid $434 per week in housing costs, similar to the $452 paid in 2015-16 in real terms. But over the same period, average total household incomes for mortgagees rose from $2,272 to $2,759 per week.

The proportion of income mortgagees are using for housing has declined to the lowest rate since the ABS records began more than two decades ago.

“In 2005-06, owners with a mortgage paid 19 per cent of their total household income on housing costs. By 2015-16 this had fallen to 16 per cent. This is likely driven by lower interest rates coupled with growth in household incomes over the last decade,” ABS household characteristics and social reporting director Dean Adams said.

“Mortgage and property values have also increased in the last decade. Ten years ago, the real median mortgage value was $171,000 which rose to $230,000 in 2015-16. Meanwhile, the real median dwelling value increased from $449,000 to $520,000,” Adams said.

Going back another decade, the results also reveal that households are entering into a mortgage at older ages. The proportion of younger households (with a reference person aged under 35 years) represented 69 per cent of first home buyers in 1995-96 which dropped to 63 per cent by 2015-16.

“Having a mortgage is now the most common form of ownership for households whose reference person was aged between 35 and 54 years. Among this group, ownership with a mortgage increased by 15 percentage points over the last two decades, from 41 per cent to 56 per cent. Meanwhile, the rate of outright ownership in 2015-16 (12 per cent) was one-third the 1995-96 rate (36 per cent),” Adams said.

The rate of older households (55 years and over) who were still paying off a mortgage has tripled between 1995-96 and 2015-16 (from 7 per cent to 21 per cent).

Older households are spending more of their income on housing costs than two decades ago, increasing from 8 per cent to 14 per cent for those aged between 55 and 64, and from 5 per cent to 9 per cent for those aged 65 and over.

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