The Real Estate Institute says the Northern Territory is one of the most affordable places in Australia to pay off a mortgage.
The Institute’s Northern Territory head, Quentin Killian, says according to a survey it has done in the Territory, about 23 percent of a family’s income is needed to pay a mortgage.
He says that is lower than most other areas in Australia.
“Basically the data states and its quite clear that next to the ACT, the Northern Territory is still the most affordable place to purchase a house, or to pay the mortgage,” Mr Killian said.
The head of the welfare group Somerville Community Services, Vicki O’Halloran says the study does not reflect reality.
She says it does not take into account other costs that makes living in the Territory unaffordable, and more and more people in the Territory are struggling and going to welfare groups for help.
“Couples, double-income families, both working but cannot afford their rent or their mortgage just on basis that if they are to pay those and be on time with those they do not have enough disposable income to get through to next pay day,” Ms O’Halloran said.
“So therefore the balance of income that you would have to live on a weekly fortnightly basis would be less. Cost of groceries for example, power and water, just to get into venues.
“You often find that when you are interstate you have more cash in your purse.”
Mr Killian admits the study does not include those other factors, but he stands by the figures.
“The cost of living, the cost of extremely high power costs, the costs of higher than normal food costs absolutely … but that can’t be factored into how much it costs to service your mortgage.”
The Territory has an affordable housing shortage and business analysts have called for the housing market to be flooded with land to deal with demand.
Ms O’Halloran supported the call to flood the housing market with land.
“Let’s have a flood for a period and overcome in a short time the shortage of land and inevitably housing that we have at the moment,” she said.
Mr Killian says a flood is too much, but a big release is needed.
“Whatever the demand is let’s get ahead of demand, ” Mr Killian said.
“Let’s not just play catch up and catch up and catch up, because we have got a population growth of something like 2.7 percent per annum.
“The more you are playing catch-up, the more the population is growing on you, the more that gap is growing.”
Mr Killian said many young first-home buyers in the Territory expected too much when they look for their first home.
“Perhaps you should stop looking at Cullen Bay and saying I’m a 20-year-old and I want to live in Cullen Bay,” Mr Killian.
“There has to be a level at which you enter the market and say OK it is not what I want, it is not where I want to be at the end of the day, but it is a starting point.”