ONE in four Wyndham home owners is struggling to cover mortgage repayments every month.
Australian Bureau of Statistics census data for the federal seat of Lalor, which includes Wyndham, have revealed a staggering increase in the number of households experiencing mortgage stress: those who are paying more than 30 per cent of their gross income in repayments.
All up, 6242 or 27.8 per cent of Lalor households with a mortgage are struggling with their monthly repayments in 2006 an increase of 147.8 per cent since 2001.
Quarterly national figures released by the Housing Industry Association have revealed housing affordability has substantially decreased across Australia within the past 12 months.
The housing affordability index dropped 2.7 per cent in the June quarter 6.5 per cent lower than the same time last year.
Monthly loan repayments on a typical first-home mortgage increased from $2387 to $2506.
Mortgage repayments now account for 30.8 per cent of an average first-homebuyer's income a 0.8 per centrise on the previous quarter.
"The Australian economy is performing well, yet an increasing number of people are being left behind as the degree of housing stress on both mortgage holders and renters continued to intensify," HIA managing director Dr Ron Silberg said.
He said affordability was continuing to move in the wrong direction, but there had been no meaningful response from the Federal Government to address the issue.
Federal member for Lalor Julia Gillard criticised the Federal Government's refusal to appoint a minister to tackle housing affordability.
"With so many Wyndham residents losing sight of the great Australian dream, it's shameful that housing is a policy-free zone for the Government," Ms Gillard said.
The Lalor MP said eight consecutive interest rate rises had only exacerbated the problem.
But Sustainable Population Australia Victorian branch vice-president and population and land-use planning sociologist Sheila Newman said Victoria was experiencing a land affordability crisis, rather than a crises in housing affordability.
"The planning system has been tweaked and turbo-charged by the State Government's Melbourne 2030 to drive up demand for land through government-stimulated population growth.
"Victorians were neither adequately informed nor consulted about M2030. The underlying assumption of M2030 is that growth was inevitable, rather than a political decision.
"The politics and policies of engineering growth remained outside the discussion and slow or no growth were not presented as options."
Ms Newman said that by implication of this policy, a socially marginalised class of people had been created in the outer suburbs of Melbourne where they were vulnerable to interest rate hikes and volatile petrol prices.
"Can Australia continue to pay the environmental, affordability and livability consequences for this kind of dog-eat-dog economic?"
Western Metropolitan state Liberal MP Bernie Finn said exorbitant stamp duty was an impost on home buyers and urged the State Government to cut the tax. "Stamp duty adds to the mortgage woes of people who go to the banks with their cap in hand to borrow money," he said. "It is a pure tax grab by the Brumby Government. They should slash this tax on private ownership."