Big Ben in London.
Big Ben in London.

Bundy ranked 16th least affordable

BUNDABERG ranks alongside London, San Francisco and New York as the least affordable places to buy a house.

According to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, it costs seven times the median wage of $38,700 to buy an average property at $269,000 in Bundaberg, putting it at number 16 for the “least affordable” out of 257 cities surveyed worldwide.

The figures show that the affordability index for a home in Bundaberg is the same as a Brooklyn brownstone, or a home overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge — in two of the most expensive cities in America.

Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce president Ron Bishop was surprised at the result, but agreed homes were more affordable in the US, where he was born.

He said the problem was not that the median wage was too low, but that the land prices were prohibitive for many people.

“According to the report, it takes an average of 10 years to release land for development. That needs to change if land is to become more affordable,” he said.

He said a shorter turnaround for land being released for development would ease the pressure for home buyers and builders, so the federal government needed to make affordable housing a priority.

“The average university graduate earns $44,000, so they’re still looking at spending six times their income to buy a place — it is the land prices pushing up property values,” he said.

“A $269,000 house in Bundaberg is not a palace, it’s an average place. To get a newer brick home, you’re looking at $400,000-plus, which makes it even more unaffordable compared to the median wage.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch described the comparison as “simplistic and crude”.

“All it does is reflect the fact that we have a high number of pensioners and fixed-income earners who are on a low income,” Cr Pyefinch said.

“Our housing prices are very affordable — it’s very unfair to place us in the same category as New York.” Real Estate Institute Queensland Bundaberg zone director Michael Dempsey said Bundaberg’s median house price was one of the best in Queensland.

“We’re still cheaper than most places in Queensland and our growth is far higher than a lot of coastal towns, so it shows people still find Bundaberg affordable,” he said.

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