House prices through the roof?

Depends how high you were to start….

In the last few months, the Australian median house price across the capital cities hit (give or take) a million dollars. Now while that doesn’t quite make the average Aussie a millionaire, it does mean that out of every two residential sales in a State Capital last quarter, one of them was over $1,000,000.

For every person lamenting the fact their home might not have made more money than they did over the past 12 months, there are plenty more very grateful for the fact that housing retains some degree of affordability, even with this latest rise in prices. A million-dollar mortgage is manageable for some – but for a first home buyer (or indeed, most of the population), that’s a level likely to keep home ownership out of reach, bar a significant cash injection from the bank of mum and dad (or at least, their own equity).

Here in Cairns, we have certainly been enjoying some growth of our own over this last little while– in some cases in the first meaningful way since 2008(!), with our median price now hovering in the mid $400,000s with $500,000 in sight. The opportunities of even 2 years ago – i.e. brand new house and land for $400,000 or plentiful older 3 bedders circa $300,000 are definitely in the rear view mirror.

Affordable options for housing (and certainly units) however are still there, albeit with compromises more befitting the “first home” rather than the “forever home” that until recently was the expectation. Busy tradies might mean living with an ‘80s bathroom a little bit longer…

We’ve had solid price increases, and there have been some real “winners” over the past 12 months in particular as those that timed their purchases have earned the rewards, but there is still room for more to come. A lot of our local market is still playing catch up on years of minimal (or negative) growth, and with the cost of new land and new construction continuing to go up, the fact remains that you just couldn’t replace a lot of homes for the money they are selling for. Between that important metric, a growing population and rent prices which can exceed mortgage repayments – we can continue looking up for some time yet.