I hear the term “affordable housing” mentioned a lot by various politicians and media, however the one thing that has me baffled is, no one can explain to me what the dollar value figure is that is actually “affordable”. I suspect it’s because they don’t know precisely what it is, and due to the current market climate, things are evolving at a rapid pace so the figure would constantly be changing. There is a lot of talk of building affordable housing which is great, however, if the finished product is above the median price, is that really affordable?

Affordable housing differs greatly between areas. What is deemed to be affordable housing in Albany is very different to affordable housing in Perth or Port Headland. When we look to our Eastern State counterparts, a property in Sydney selling at $700,000 may be deemed to be affordable, however in Albany, that is certainly not the case.

As prices continue to grow, does that mean the “affordable price” continues to rise? At the time of writing this article, there are less than 20 houses available under $500,00. The median price for a property in Albany is currently $489,500. Does this mean that the median house price is affordable? If you are a Baby Boomer looking to purchase a property, in most instances, this price range would be deemed “affordable”. However if you are first home buyer, then this price is certainly not “affordable” in my opinion. For a first home buyer, I would see “affordable”  as being under $400,000 (keeping in mind the Government First Home Buyer Scheme relating to Stamp Duty is capped at a purchase of $430,000), but I struggle to see any developer, either private or government, being able to develop a  suitable product that has the desired land size and dwelling that will fit that budget. “Matchbox houses”  (small houses on small blocks ) are already selling for over $450,000 in Albany. To be able to purchase a decent sized family home on a reasonable sized plot of land, purchasers are looking at spending far more than the median price.

The idea of small and tiny homes, container housing and various other ideas are being discussed as short term solutions, but we’re yet to see this take off, or see how this would work in a real life scenario. It will be interesting moving forward to see what solutions are proposed, and if the median price is still considered “affordable”. One thing I would love to see is clarification as to what the criteria is to determine an “Affordable home”, and how this will continue to evolve in line with wage rises and available properties. We need to know this information, so that we are not selling false hope to those people thinking they will get an affordable home when it may not be even possible in the near future.