OUR SAY: There’s good and bad news in our rising property values

It’s the very definition of a good news-bad news situation.

While home owners and property investors are no doubt thrilled to learn the city’s median house and unit value continued to rise, it’s unlikely those hoping to get into the market or crossing their fingers for a drop in rent are dancing with joy.

The latest figures from Domain reveal the median house price in Orange reached $383,500 in the December 2017 quarter, up 9.6 per cent on the previous year.

Unit prices reached $270,000, up 9.8 per cent year-on-year.

Overall, the median price for houses in 2017 was $371,750 up from $350,000 the previous year.

Whilst the apparently never-ending surge in property prices may drive the city’s renters and aspiring home owners to despair, it is a source of unalloyed joy for investors and owner-occupiers.

For lenders, builders, component suppliers, and all levels of governments too.

Indeed, cynics might argue that home ownership has been priced out of the reach of younger Australians in large part because governments, financial institutions and construction companies are dependent on and addicted to the easy profits and taxes that high property values generate, and are happy for them to continue.

As are those who have already purchased properties – to live in or as investments – as they watch its value grow, and grow, and grow.

But, as previously stated, the news isn’t fantastic for everyone, and the often-overlooked consequence of such growth is its impact on the rental market.

The sequence of events is pretty obvious: Higher property values means more people unable to afford home loans, means more people forced to rent, means a tighter and more competitive rental market.

Coupled with this is the rise of Airbnb, Stayz and other short-term holiday accommodation services, which has seen many homeowners switch from long-term rental housing to make the most of Orange’s booming tourism sector.

In its rental affordability snapshot, welfare group Anglicare pointed to a crisis in the availability of affordable rental homes for people on low incomes.

“With an increasing level of competition, those on the lowest incomes find it very difficult to secure a home,” it said.

As we said, it’s a good news-bad news situation.


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