First home buyers in Sydney need almost $200K income to avoid mortgage stress

First home buyers in Sydney need almost $200K income to avoid mortgage stress

Research by comparison site RateCity has revealed the true extent of the housing affordability crisis and concern about the debt levels being carried by those who have recently purchased a home in Australia’s most expensive real estate markets.

What is mortgage stress?

Mortgage stress is spending 30 per cent or more of your pre-tax income on home loan repayments.

SYDNEY

  • Sydneysiders need to earn more than $191,068 to meet the mortgage repayments on an average-priced house to avoid mortgage stress.
  • The average family would not qualify for a loan for a house in Sydney as the mortgage repayments would constitute 55 per cent of their income.
  • Sydneysiders need to earn more than $122,900 to meet the mortgage repayments on an average-priced apartment to avoid mortgage stress.
  • The average family could potentially get a loan for an apartment in Sydney but they would be in immediate mortgage stress, spending 36 per cent of their income on mortgage repayments.

MELBOURNE

  • In Melbourne, families need to earn more than $140,366 to meet the mortgage repayments on an average-priced house to avoid mortgage stress.
  • The average family may not qualify for a loan for a house in Melbourne as the mortgage repayments would constitute 44 per cent of their income.
  • However, for first home buyers in the market for an apartment the news is much better. On an average income you can easily afford to buy an apartment and live mortgage stress free spending 24 per cent of your income on mortgage repayments. A family only needs to earn $76,992 to avoid mortgage stress. 

“It’s incredible that first home buyers would need to earn close to $200K to avoid mortgage stress in Sydney. Unless you are on an executive salary buying your first home in Sydney is virtually impossible,” said RateCity money editor Sally Tindall.

“These figures illustrate how dire the situation has become in Sydney for a generation of first home buyers.

“Earning over $100,000 used to be considered wealthy, but in Sydney’s real estate market you can’t even afford a basic unit without going into mortgage stress.

“Buying a house in Melbourne is also tough for first home buyers. However, apartment prices are still reasonable and affordable for those looking to break into the market.

“The real test will come when interest rates begin to rise. For those who have managed to get a foot on the property ladder, the impact of several rate hikes could be devastating,” she said. 

Tips for getting into the property market 

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  1. Start small. Don’t buy your dream home first up. If you can’t afford an apartment in the place you want to live, consider an investment property.
  1. Take the time to save a decent deposit. It might take longer but you’ll be financially more attractive to a lender if you’ve got a decent amount of equity to put forward
  1. Give yourself a generous buffer. Rates will rise – it’s all a matter of when – so factor in a buffer of at least 2, if not 3 per cent.
  1. Make extra repayments as early as you can. It’s one of the best ways to protect yourself in case of future financial pressures.

HOUSES

Capital city Annual income needed to avoid mortgage stress
Sydney $191,068
Melbourne $140,366
Canberra $177,275
Darwin $108,096
Perth $90,115
Brisbane $88,535
Adelaide $85,118
Hobart $65,589

APARTMENTS

Capital city Annual income needed to avoid mortgage stress
Sydney  $122,900
Melbourne  $76,992
Canberra $65,363
Perth $61,260
Brisbane $60,846
Darwin $57,054
Adelaide $50,644
Hobart $50,402

Calculations are made based on a owner-occupier paying principal an interest over 30 years with a 20% deposit on a discounted variable rate with one of the major banks. 

Average house prices and apartment prices are from Domain State of the Market Report, June 2017.

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Learn more about home loans

What is mortgage stress?

Mortgage stress is when you don’t have enough income to comfortably meet your monthly mortgage repayments and maintain your lifestyle. Many experts believe that mortgage stress starts when you are spending 30 per cent or more of your pre-tax income on mortgage repayments.

Mortgage stress can lead to people defaulting on their loans which can have serious long term repercussions.

The best way to avoid mortgage stress is to include at least a 2 – 3 per cent buffer in your estimated monthly repayments. If you could still make your monthly repayments comfortably at a rate of up to 8 or 9 per cent then you should be in good position to meet your obligations. If you think that a rate rise would leave you at a risk of defaulting on your loan, consider borrowing less money.

If you do find yourself in mortgage stress, talk to your bank about ways to potentially reduce your mortgage burden. Contacting a financial counsellor can also be a good idea. You can locate a free counselling service in your state by calling the national hotline: 1800 007 007 or visiting www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au.

What percentage of income should my mortgage repayments be?

As a general rule, mortgage repayments should be less than 30 per cent of your pre-tax income to avoid falling into mortgage stress. When mortgage repayments exceed this amount it becomes hard to budget for other living expenses and your lifestyle quality may be diminished.

How much debt is too much?

A home loan is considered to be too large when the monthly repayments exceed 30 per cent of your pre-tax income. Anything over this threshold is officially known as ‘mortgage stress’ – and for good reason – it can seriously affect your lifestyle and your actual stress levels.

The best way to avoid mortgage stress is by factoring in a sizeable buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent. If this then tips you over into the mortgage stress category, then it’s likely you’re taking on too much debt.

If you’re wondering if this kind of buffer is really necessary, consider this: historically, the average interest rate is around 7 per cent, so the chances of your 30 year loan spending half of its time above this rate is entirely plausible – and that’s before you’ve even factored in any of life’s emergencies such as the loss of one income or the arrival of a new family member.

How can I get ANZ home loan pre-approval?

Shopping for a new home is an exciting experience and getting a pre-approval on the loan may give you the peace of mind that you are looking at properties within your budget. 

At the time of applying for the ANZ Bank home loan pre-approval, you will be required to provide proof of employment and income, along with records of your savings and debts.

An ANZ home loan pre-approval time frame is usually up to three months. However, being pre-approved doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your home loan. Other factors could lead to your home loan application being rejected, even with a prior pre-approval. Some factors include the property evaluation not meeting the bank’s criteria or a change in your financial circumstances.

You can make an application for ANZ home loan pre-approval online or call on 1800100641 Mon-Fri 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (AEST).

Savings over

Select a number of years to see how much money you can save with different home loans over time.

e.g. To see how much you could save in two years by switching mortgages,  set the slider to 2.

How long does Bankwest take to approve home loans?

Full approval for a home loan usually involves a property valuation, which, Bankwest suggests, can take “a week or two”. As a result, getting your home loan approved may take longer. However, you may get full approval within this time if you applied for and received conditional approval, sometimes called a pre-approval, from Bankwest before finalising the home you want to buy.  

Another way of speeding up approvals can be by completing, signing, and submitting your home loan application digitally. Essentially, you give the bank or your mortgage broker a copy of your home’s sale contract and then complete the rest of the steps online. Bankwest has claimed this cuts the approval time to less than four days, although this may only happen if your income and credit history can be verified easily, or if your home’s valuation doesn’t take time.

Interest Rate

Your current home loan interest rate. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate interest figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement or log into your mortgage account.

Why should I get an ING home loan pre-approval?

When you apply for an ING home loan pre-approval, you might be required to provide proof of employment and income, savings, as well as details on any on-going debts. The lender could also make a credit enquiry against your name. If you’re pre-approved, you will know how much money ING is willing to lend you. 

Please note, however, that a pre-approval is nothing more than an idea of your ability to borrow funds and is not the final approval. You should receive the home loan approval  only after finalising the property and submitting a formal loan application to the lender, ING. Additionally, a pre-approval does not stay valid indefinitely, since your financial circumstances and the home loan market could change overnight.

 

 

Remaining loan term

The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.

What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?

It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.

But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.

Which mortgage is the best for me?

The best mortgage to suit your needs will vary depending on your individual circumstances. If you want to be mortgage free as soon as possible, consider taking out a mortgage with a shorter term, such as 25 years as opposed to 30 years, and make the highest possible mortgage repayments. You might also want to consider a loan with an offset facility to help reduce costs. Investors, on the other hand, might have different objectives so the choice of loan will differ.

Whether you decide on a fixed or variable interest rate will depend on your own preference for stability in repayment amounts, and flexibility when it comes to features.

If you do not have a deposit or will not be in a financial position to make large repayments right away you may wish to consider asking a parent to be a guarantor or looking at interest only loans. Again, which one of these options suits you best is reliant on many factors and you should seek professional advice if you are unsure which mortgage will suit you best.

How do I calculate monthly mortgage repayments?

Work out your mortgage repayments using a home loan calculator that takes into account your deposit size, property value and interest rate. This is divided by the loan term you choose (for example, there are 360 months in a 30-year mortgage) to determine the monthly repayments over this time frame.

Over the course of your loan, your monthly repayment amount will be affected by changes to your interest rate, plus any circumstances where you opt to pay interest-only for a period of time, instead of principal and interest.

How can I avoid mortgage insurance?

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) can be avoided by having a substantial deposit saved up before you apply for a loan, usually around 20 per cent or more (or a LVR of 80 per cent or less). This amount needs to be considered genuine savings by your lender so it has to have been in your account for three months rather than a lump sum that has just been deposited.

Some lenders may even require a six months saving history so the best way to ensure you don’t end up paying LMI is to plan ahead for your home loan and save regularly.

Tip: You can use RateCity mortgage repayment calculator to calculate your LMI based on your borrowing profile

What happens to your mortgage when you die?

There is no hard and fast answer to what will happen to your mortgage when you die as it is largely dependent on what you have set out in your mortgage agreement, your will (if you have one), other assets you may have and if you have insurance. If you have co-signed the mortgage with another person that person will become responsible for the remaining debt when you die.

If the mortgage is in your name only the house will be sold by the bank to cover the remaining debt and your nominated air will receive the remaining sum if there is a difference. If there is a turn in the market and the sale of your house won’t cover the remaining debt the case may go to court and the difference may have to be covered by the sale of other assets.  

If you have a life insurance policy your family may be able to use some of the lump sum payment from this to pay down the remaining mortgage debt. Alternatively, your lender may provide some form of mortgage protection that could assist your family in making repayments following your passing.