Brisbane Too Expensive for Emergency Workers and Teachers

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1 MEDIA RELEASE Embargoed until 12:01am Monday 27 July 2009 Brisbane Too Expensive for Emergency Workers and Teachers Owning a house in the city they serve remains an unattainable dream for Brisbane s struggling emergency and teachers. Nearly four out of five council areas in Brisbane is unaffordable for key, the Second Annual Bankwest Key Worker Housing Affordability Report has revealed. Brisbane is one of seven Australian capital cities where the median house price is too expensive for key to get a foothold on the property ladder. Despite housing affordability improving marginally over the past year, with house prices falling 2% in Brisbane, the Report found that key continue to face significant hurdles in climbing onto the property ladder. The situation has deteriorated significantly over the past five years with the Bankwest research showing that the median house price in Brisbane was unaffordable in 78% of local government areas (LGAs) in March 2009, compared with 33% of LGAs in March An area is classified as unaffordable if median house prices are more than five times a key worker s annual earnings. Our research shows that key are still doing it tough in Brisbane with most being locked out of the property market in the areas they serve, Bankwest Retail Chief Executive Ian Corfield said. These are the essential Queenslanders rely on every day to provide important services and most continue to be priced out of housing in the communities in which they serve. The unfortunate reality is many are locked permanently in the rental market and are unlikely to get the keys to their own home while others have to commute for long distance. Even more worrying is that affordability has sharply declined over the past five years in Brisbane, despite a minor improvement in housing affordability last year. The results from the Bankwest Key Worker Housing Affordability Report were derived by analysing house prices in all available Australian local government areas (554 LGAs) and cross referencing them against wages and salary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. While Australians continue to struggle under the weight of the global economic downturn, the crisis has created sporadic relief for some key as house prices fell in some areas. All capital cities, apart from Darwin, experienced modest improvements in affordability for key during the past year. Affordability improved in Brisbane with the median house price to earnings ratio for key dropping 0.6 years to 6.0 years. One Brisbane LGA, Logan, moved from being unaffordable for all key in 2008 to affordable for some key in Of Queensland s 91,000 key, 45,000 are teachers, 33,000 are nurses, 9,000 are police officers, 2,000 are fire and emergency employees and 2,000 are ambulance officers. 1

2 Average salaries used in the Report were $54,891 for nurses, $60,536 for teachers, $73,237 for police officers, $50,471 for fire-fighters and $63,414 for ambulance officers. Major findings by areas The median house price in Brisbane is unaffordable for key at 6.0 times the salary of a key worker. However, affordability has improved marginally over the past year from a house price to earnings ratio of 6.6 times in March In Brisbane and surrounds, the median house price was unaffordable in 78% of LGAs (7 out of 9) in March 2009, compared with 89% (8 out of 9) in March In March 2004, 33% of LGAs (3 out of 9) in Brisbane were unaffordable for key. The least affordable LGA in Queensland is Noosa with a house price ($576,500) to earnings ratio of 7.9 times for key. Inner Brisbane is the least affordable LGA in South East Queensland for key with a median house price to earnings ratio of 7.0 times for a key worker in March The most affordable is Ipswich (house price to earnings ratio of 4.2 times). The biggest deterioration in affordability in South East Queensland over the past five years has been in Beaudesert with a rise in its house price to earnings ratio of 1.4 times to 6.4 times. Units are more affordable for key than houses in South East Queensland. However, the median unit price was still unaffordable for key in 1 out of the nine LGAs in South East Queensland inner Brisbane. The median house price in 12% of LGAs in regional and rural areas (12 out of 101) in Queensland was unaffordable for key in March 2009, compared to 20% (20 out of 101) in Five years ago in 2004, 4% of regional LGAs (4 out of 101) were unaffordable in Queensland. Major Findings by Occupation Nurses, fire-fighters and teachers are priced out of all LGAs in Brisbane The median house price in all 9 LGAs in Brisbane and its surrounds were unaffordable for nurses, fire-fighters and teachers in March Additionally, 50% of regional LGAs in Queensland are unaffordable for fire-fighters (50 out of 101). Police officers are the best placed key in Queensland 78% of South East Queensland LGAs (7 out of 9) are unaffordable for police officers which makes them the best placed key. In regional and rural areas of Queensland 12% (12 out of 101) of areas are unaffordable for police officers. More detailed analysis, data and tables are contained within the 30-page Bankwest Key Worker Housing Affordability Report, which is available at A full list of affordability results for all 554 LGAs is also available in the report. Media Inquiries: Adrian Bradley, External Communications Manager, , Jessica Del Duca, Media Manager, ,

3 MAP OF KEY WORKER HOUSING AFFORDABILITY IN SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND Table 1 house price : earnings ratios for key in capital cities Change in ratio over 1 year Change in ratio over 5 year House Price $ (Mar 2009) Capital City Sydney 7.7 Unaffordable ,500 Melbourne 6.5 Unaffordable ,000 Perth 6.3 Unaffordable ,500 ACT 6.2 Unaffordable ,000 Darwin 6.2 Unaffordable ,000 Brisbane 6.0 Unaffordable ,500 Adelaide 5.1 Unaffordable ,500 Hobart 4.8 Affordable ,500 3

4 Table 2 Affordability of LGAs in Brisbane and surrounds for key Table 3 Ten most affordable LGAs for key in regional Queensland House LGA Ambulance Officers Firefighters Nurses Police Officers Teachers Price $ (Mar 2009) Brisbane Unaffordable ,500 Gold Coast Unaffordable ,500 Beaudesert Unaffordable ,500 Redland Unaffordable ,000 Pine Rivers Unaffordable ,000 Redcliffe Unaffordable ,500 Caboolture Unaffordable ,000 Logan Affordable ,500 Ipswich Affordable ,500 House Price $ LGA Region Ambulance Officers Firefighters Nurses Police Officers Teachers (Mar 2009) Aramac Central West ,000 Paroo South West ,500 Quilpie South West ,500 Jericho Fitzroy ,000 Waggamba Darling Downs ,500 Bendemere South West ,500 Eidsvold Wide Bay-Burnett ,000 Flinders North West ,000 Winton Central West ,000 Tambo Central West ,000 4

5 Table 4 Ten least affordable LGAs for key in regional Queensland House Price $ LGA Region Ambulance Officers Firefighters Nurses Police Officers Teachers (Mar 2009) Noosa Sunshine Coast ,500 Caloundra Sunshine Coast ,500 Maroochy Sunshine Coast ,500 Douglas Far North ,500 Whitsunday Mackay ,000 Calliope Fitzroy ,000 Livingstone Fitzroy ,000 Belyando Mackay ,000 Crows Nest Darling Downs ,000 Mackay Mackay ,000 EDITORS NOTES For more information please see the BankWest Key Worker Housing Affordability Report 2009, available at A full list of affordability results for all 554 LGAs is also available at AFFORDABILITY CALCULATION To determine which areas are unaffordable for key we have analysed the house price:earnings ratio for each key worker occupation in each local government area (LGA) against an average house price : earnings ratio (PE ratio) of five times. Where the key worker house price : earnings ratio exceeds a ratio of 5 times across all five key worker occupation types it has been classified as an unaffordable area. References to areas being unaffordable for key refer to an area being unaffordable for all key worker groups. The house price:earnings ratio for key has been calculated by dividing the median house price by annual average earnings for the relevant occupation in each state. The earnings calculation for key is based on earnings data by state from the ABS Employee Earnings and Hours survey which provides average salaries. The numbers used in this release are not entry-level salaries. For example, the average salary for a nurse has been used in our calculations. This affordability measure assumes a typical deposit (of around 10-20%). Its likely that a large proportion of key will fall into the category of not having enough funds for a typical deposit and as a result our affordability measure actually understates the degree to which properties are unaffordable for key. We have also assumed obtaining a mortgage depends solely on a single income. DATA AND SOURCES House prices have been sourced from Residex and refer to median house prices for years to March 2004, 2008 and The median house price in 554 LGAs has been used in the analysis with 122 LGAs excluded because of insufficient house price transactions. Additionally, the median unit price in 313 LGAs has been analysed. Earnings data used within this research has been taken from the ABS Employee Earnings and Hours survey 2008, 2006 and

6 State occupational earnings figures have been used, where possible, in this analysis. Where occupational earnings data by state is unavailable, national average occupational earnings data has been used. Earnings data for teachers is an average of primary and secondary school teacher earnings. The following average annual earnings for Queensland (ABS Employee Earnings and Hours codes shown in brackets next to each occupation type) have been used in this analysis. An average salary of $60,536 for teachers (ABS code 2412/2413) in primary and secondary school roles An average salary of $54,891 for nurses (ABS code 2544) An average salary of $73,237 for police officers (ABS code 4413) An average salary of $50,471 for fire-fighters (ABS code 4412) An average salary of $63,414 for ambulance officers (ABS code 4111) Note: national average salaries for ambulance officers, fire-fighters and police officers have been used in this analysis because of the unavailability of Queensland data. About Bankwest Bankwest is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank (Group). Bankwest is a full service bank which originated in Western Australia in 1895 and services more than 900,000 customers. Bankwest promotes a range of products using cost-effective direct and third party distribution channels, including 24-hour telephone and internet services and mortgage brokers. In WA, Bankwest is a market leader with about one quarter of all bank advances and deposits and an extensive network of branches. Standard & Poor s short-term credit rating for Bankwest is A-1+ and AA for the long term, providing customers with investment grade security. 6

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