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Who had it easier? Buying in 1990 v 2018

Buying in 1990 v 2018

In 1990, the official interest rate was 17 per cent but since then, average mortgages have increased nearly twice as fast as wages. So, when was it easier to buy?

The Reserve Bank of Australia has held the official interest rate at a record-low 1.50 per cent since August 2016 and pundits predict it will stick at this rate for at least a few months, to a year longer.

This low interest rate environment is in notable contrast to the record-high 17 per cent of February 1990. 

According to RateCity spokesperson Sally Tindall, this is a reality "many Australians would rather forget". 


"Now we’re living in a period of record-long, record-low interest rates," Ms Tindall said.

RateCity analysis compared the the February 1990 and May 2018 cash rates along with average loan sizes, $67,700 and $388,100, respectively. Average annual wages of $27,284 and $81,619 were also factored in. 

Based on these elements, the average home-buyer in 1990 would spend 42.45 per cent of their income on their mortgage. The average home-buyer in 2018 would be forking out a lower 28.91 per cent. 

However, there's more to it than that, Ms Tindall added. 

"The key difference between 1990 and today is that average mortgages have risen nearly two times faster than wages," she said.

“So, when it comes to paying down the mortgage each month, when you factor in the record low interest rates, we’re actually better off. But ask a first home buyer to stump up a 20 per cent deposit today, and you’ve got them snookered before they’ve even started."

Who had it easier? Buying in 1990 v 2018
Buying in 1990 v 2018
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