Coffs Harbour is no.4 in unaffordability for housing, not no.5, according to a common measure of estimating how easy it is to buy a house.
Coffs Harbour is no.4 in unaffordability for housing, not no.5, according to a common measure of estimating how easy it is to buy a house.

Coffs housing getting expensive

WORSE and worse – Coffs Harbour is no.4 in unaffordability for housing, not no.5, according to a common measure of estimating how easy it is to buy a house.

On Saturday Coffs Coast Advocate readers woke to the news our area had been ranked the fifth least affordable in the world in which to buy a house in the seventh annual Demographia International Household Affordability Survey.

Now alert reader Howard Dengate has crunched the numbers and pointed out things are even worse.

“The usual way to measure ‘affordability’ is how many years it takes to pay for an average house at an average income,” he said.

“On this basis, Coffs is no.4 in unaffordability (see table).”

Coffs Harbour comes fourth with 9.1 years worth of an average income needed to pay for an average house.

In her 2006 study into affordable housing for older people and people with disabilities on the Mid North Coast, Southern Cross University Professor Colleen Cartwright said housing was deemed to be affordable if the cost did not exceed 30 per cent of income for people in the bottom 40 per cent of income earners, providing also that the cost of housing left enough income to meet other basic needs such as food, clothing, transport and medical care and education. By 2016 Coffs Harbour will have more than 40 per cent of the population aged 60 and above.

In spite of the desperate need for affordable housing, Professor Cartwright’s study found more than 8000 empty houses in the area of her study, which covered Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey and Hastings.

Housing NSW is trying to encourage people to move into private housing by signing two, five and 10 year contracts with tenants. While it is a NSW rather than Coffs Harbour problem, stamp duty represents another cost hurdle for home buyers in Coffs.

Median house price; gross annual median household income; years of income to pay for house.

HONG KONG: $394,571, $34,469, 11.4

SYDNEY: $634,300, $66,000, 9.6

VANCOUVER: $610,135, $63,949, 9.5

COFFS HARBOUR: $369,900, $40,500, 9.1

MELBOURNE: $565,000, $63,100 9.0

BOURNEMOUTH: $363,003, $41,191, 8.8

HONOLULU: $580,144, $68,619, 8.5

SUNSHINE COAST: $455,000, $54,200, 8.4

LONDON: $482,623, $66,923, 7.2

WARWICKSHIRE: $294,422, $53,414, 5.5



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