Postcodes near the beach in South Australia and Perth have the nation’s lowest mortgage stress

A seaside town and a desirable, inner-city suburb on a river have Australia’s lowest mortgage stress levels. 

Australians wanting to avoid the pain of surging interest rates don’t have to live a long way from the ocean, with a coastal town a two-hour drive, 180km north-west of Adelaide and an upmarket part of Perth regarded as easy places to service a mortgage.

Real estate data group PropTrack has revealed the most affordable places for a working couple to buy a house or unit, if they are both earning an average income for the area. 

The South Australian town of Fisherman Bay, on the Yorke Peninsula overlooking the Spencer Gulf, is so affordable it is possible to buy a three-bedroom house for less than $60,000 and be right near the water.

PropTrack economist Angus Moore said regional areas offered more options for those wanting to buy a house.

‘There are still some parts of Australia where mortgages are still quite affordable relative to suburb average incomes,’ he said.

‘These are mostly in regional areas, where prices are lower.’

A seaside town and a desirable, inner-city suburb on a river have Australia’s lowest mortgage stress levels (pictured are houses at Fisherman Bay that typically cost $60,000)

A three-bedroom ‘family shack’ right near the beach in February sold for $52,250.

The median house price in Fisherman Bay was $60,000 in May, in the 5522 postcode where $61,000 is the average, dual income – a level below Australia’s middle pay of $65,000 for an individual.

PropTrack calculated monthly mortgage repayments of $270 consumed just 2.7 per cent of income for buyers with a 20 per cent mortgage deposit of just $12,000.

For those wanting to live near the beach in a major city, upmarket Mosman Park in Perth’s west has an affordable median apartment price of $350,000 – a level well below the $2million mid-point for houses.

The Swan River suburb – that is next to Cottesloe and home to millionaires – has average household incomes of $170,200, in the 6012 postcode.

Monthly mortgage repayments of $1,660 consume just 5.9 per cent of income for those buying a typical unit, with a 20 per cent mortgage deposit of $70,000.

But it would still be affordable for someone on an average, full-time salary of $94,000. 

‘Even in the capital cities, there are some pockets where mortgage costs remain on the more affordable side relative to incomes,’ Mr Moore said.

Upmarket Mosman Park in Perth's west has an affordable median apartment price of $350,000

Upmarket Mosman Park in Perth’s west has an affordable median apartment price of $350,000 

These areas are being spared the mortgage stress phenomenon afflicting much of Australia after the Reserve Bank this month raised interest rates for the 12th time since May 2022.

Easiest places to pay off a mortgage

HOUSE: Fisherman Bay, South Australia: median price $60,000 and monthly mortgage repayments of $270

UNIT: Mosman Park, Perth: median price $350,000 and monthly mortgage repayments of $1,660

Source: PropTrack based on a median house or unit price on a 30-year loan and a 20 per cent mortgage deposit

The major banks last week raised their standard variable rates by 0.25 percentage points to account for the RBA cash rate in June rising by 25 basis points to an 11-year high of 4.1 per cent. 

But Australia’s two biggest lenders – Commonwealth Bank and Westpac – on Friday sneakily raised their variable rates outside of an RBA move, slugging new customers living in their home.

Westpac raised its variable rates by 15 basis points, taking its Flexi First Option Home Loan rate for a borrower with a 20 per cent mortgage deposit to 6.09 per cent.

The Commonwealth Bank raised its equivalent variable rate by 10 basis points, taking a Wealth Package loan for new, owner-occupier customers to 6.44 per cent.

RateCity research director Sally Tindall noted the major banks were no longer offering variable rates under six per cent, little more than a year after mortgage rates started with a ‘two’. 

‘If you’re in the market for a home loan, take the time to look beyond the big four to see what’s possible,’ she said.

‘A lower rate will help keep a lid on your new mortgage repayments, but also boost your borrowing capacity in what is an incredibly difficult market.’