The Housing Industry Forecasting Group launched its latest report in December. The report shows that Western Australia’s population growth has slowed, with land sales also slowing. Building approvals and dwelling commencements reached a record high in 2014-2015 but are now also slowing. The report points to WA’s high rental vacancy rate, rising unemployment and soft economic outlook.
A household needed a gross income of around $1,300 per week, or around $70,000 per annum, in order to afford Perth’s median rent of $400 per week, without spending more than 30% of their income on rent. Though the vacancy rate in Perth has lifted to 5.6% over the September quarter 2015, suggesting a softening rental market, households on very-low to low incomes are still struggling to afford the median rent without experiencing housing stress. This is a factor behind the continuing high demand for public housing, which totalled 19,899 on the waiting list at the end of August 2015.
In the June quarter 2015, a Perth household on the estimated median income of $87,300 would have been able to afford a property valued at $426,100 if they were to pay no more than 30% of their income in repayments. This was well below the median house price of $545,000 in the same quarter. This means that home ownership is still out of reach for low to moderate income earners.