True costs, including the biggest hurdle – a deposit, as well as the impost of stamp duty for first home buyers trying to buy a home for owner occupation

We took a look at the true costs, including the biggest hurdle-a deposit, as well as the impost of stamp duty for first home buyers trying to buy a home for owner occupation.

Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart cheapest places to enter housing market says CoreLogic’s Cameron Kusher.

The current and never-ending conversations around housing affordability, particularly around how millennials will get a head-start on the property ladder, has seen a whole raft of suggestions thrown at a possible solution.

In this week’s CoreLogic Property Pulse we took a look at the true costs, including the biggest hurdle – a deposit,  as well as the impost of stamp duty for first home buyers trying to buy a home for owner occupation.

To review the cost of houses & units, research analyst Cameron Kusher has chosen a 25th percentile price for his analysis as he says it reflects prices at the more affordable end of the housing market and is often more representative of the prices at which first home buyers are looking at to enter the market.

Based on these 25th percentile prices, the cost of stamp duty and transfer fees for houses and units across each of these cities is detailed below. Mr Kusher said, “Keep in mind certain states have stamp duty exemptions which exist below specific price thresholds.  For this analysis, we have assumed that the first home buyer is purchasing at the 25th percentile price for owner occupation.”

City x city deposit requirements:

City Houses Units
Sydney $25,733 $273
Melbourne $11,553 $8,507
Brisbane $1,043 $845
Adelaide $16,046 $12,622
Perth $422 $402
Hobart $9,302 $7,266
Darwin $7,557 $6,337
Canberra $15,107 $8,303

He said, “It’s a common misconception that in order to purchase a home you need a 20% deposit.  Whilst a 20% deposit is beneficial it is not a necessity however, if you have a deposit of less than 20% most lenders will require you to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).  LMI can be paid up front or capitalised into the loan repayments.

“Either way, if a buyer is required to pay LMI, it will result in higher mortgage repayments or a larger up front deposit.  This analysis has made no provision for LMI costs.”

The below charts highlight the cost of the deposit along with the stamp duty in each capital city for deposits of 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%, remembering that the stamp duty cost is fixed so the cost increases highlighted reflect the greater savings required for a larger deposit.

25th percentile prices across the capital cities, April 2017


Costs for 5% deposit and stamp duty on
25th percentile property


Costs for 10% deposit and stamp duty on
25th percentile property


Costs for 15% deposit and stamp duty on
25th percentile property


Costs for 20% deposit and stamp duty on
25th percentile property


Mr Kusher’s findings clearly show that saving for a deposit, even a 5% deposit, is a much tougher task in Sydney and Canberra than it is elsewhere in the country.  A 5% deposit on a house in Sydney requires $59,033, in Canberra it requires $41,357 while the deposits required for a house in all other capital cities except for Adelaide ($32,921) is less than half of the deposit required in Sydney.

According to Mr Kusher, another challenge for potential first home buyers, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne is that household incomes are not growing at the same pace as dwelling values.  Over the 12 months to April 2017, Sydney dwelling values have increased by 16.0% and Melbourne values are 15.3% higher.  At the same time, modelled household income data from the Australian National University (ANU) indicates that over the 12 months to March 2017 Sydney household incomes have increased by a comparatively lower 4.6% and Melbourne household incomes are 2.7% higher.

Mr Kusher said, “Entry into the housing market remains a real challenge, particularly in our largest and most expensive capital cities.  Even in cheaper areas, household income growth is fairly slow which makes saving a deposit difficult.”

“It is unclear as to how, absent a big fall in property prices, housing affordability for first home buyers can be greatly improved.  Governments have tried incentives such as Grants in the past and they generally just lead to greater demand and higher property prices.”

“The future onset for the housing affordability challenge over the coming years could potentially create greater social pressures where our youth may look to move away from the commercial hubs of Sydney and Melbourne because housing costs are too high.  Added to this, businesses may find it increasingly difficult to attract young talent unless they offer opportunities in areas where housing is more affordable, both from a purchase and rental perspective,” he said.

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