Your financial position and the amount you earn plays a vital role in determining what "an affordable property" is for you.
When people talk about finding an affordable property, the discussion often centres on the performance of the real estate market as a whole.
While this influences housing affordability, the biggest factor that impacts upon how much you can afford to spend is your household income. The amount you earn and your financial position will identify the price range that you can afford to spend on a property.
Let’s take a look at the financial factors you should take into account when searching for an affordable property.
Most people don’t realise how important their income is until they can no longer rely on it. A regular income allows you to fund your lifestyle and meet whatever expenses may arise, including keeping up with your mortgage repayments from one month to the next.
However, seven in ten Australian households earn less than $100,000 in gross income every year, while 33% of Aussie households earn less than $52,000 each year. When you consider median sales prices in Australia’s capital cities, it is clear that housing affordability is an issue for many homebuyers.
The 2016 edition of Demographia’s Annual International Housing Affordability Survey revealed that the typical Australian house costs 5.6 times the median household income.
Number of dependents
The number of dependents you have reduces your disposable household income and thus affects your borrowing capacity. From school fees to insurance costs and medical bills, the number of kids you have can affect your ability to service a mortgage, and thus the type of property that you can afford.
A 2013 study by AMP and The University of Canberra found that the cost of raising two kids in Australia for a middle-income family is a whopping $812,000. More dependants means more financial commitments, which in term has an effect on the kind of property that you can reasonably afford.
Another important factor contributing to your overall financial health and your idea of what constitutes an "affordable" property is the value of your assets. This could be shares, savings, real estate or a range of other investments. our lender will ask for details of your assets when you fill out a home loan application.
Generally, the greater the value of the assets you own, the higher your price range when buying a property.
Before a lender or mortgage broker can work out how much home loan debt you can afford to take on, they will need to assess your ongoing financial commitments, commonly referred to as liabilities. From car loans and personal loans to outstanding credit card debt, HECS/HELP debt and even ongoing child support requirements, you’ll need to provide details of all your liabilities in your home loan application.
The lender will use the information you provide to work out your debt-to-income ratio — that is, the proportion of your monthly income that goes towards meeting your ongoing financial commitments. If your ratio is above the lender’s acceptable limit for the amount you want to borrow, they won’t approve your home loan application.
They may offer you finance for a reduced amount instead, which may indicate that the property you want to purchase is out of your price range.
Working out how much you can afford to borrow
Assessing all of the factors outlined above will help you form a clearer picture of how much money you can afford to borrow and comfortably repay — and therefore which homes are affordable for you. You can use our borrowing power calculator, which takes into account your income, expenses and number of dependants when calculating your repayment capabilities.
However, for specific advice tailored to your situation, the best thing you can do is ask a mortgage broker for advice. A broker will take the time to assess your overall financial situation now and how it will change in the future. They will then be able to give you a much more accurate idea of the amount you can afford to borrow and repay without putting yourself through financial hardship.
Once you know which properties are affordable based on your financial situation, you’ll be able to start house hunting in earnest.