Struggle for housing affordability despite new developments

THERE'S no shortage of new homes springing up across the region, but aspiring home buyers are tentative to get into Gladstone property despite falling prices.

The region has 34 housing developments - residential estates and unit buildings - in different stages.

But a recent national survey has indicated that housing affordability across Australia will worsen over the next five years.

A survey by Genworth of the Australian mortgage industry has found almost half of 356 brokers surveyed were struggling to help buyers gain affordable housing.

And one in two brokers said they'd written fewer loans for first-home buyers this year than last year.

Stacey Mossman, who has lived in the Gladstone region all her life, is in the process of building her first home.

She said if her family had built eight months ago, their builder claimed it would have cost an extra $40,000.

Married with four children, she said the cost 12 months ago of what was promoted as "affordable" housing was still high.

"For a small block of land in Little Creek, the asking price was $270,000, which is crazy for a 800sq m block," she said.

"There was no way we could have afforded to build the house we wanted then.

"Gladstone was, and still is, grossly overpriced real estate wise.

"In Bundaberg, you can get so much more for your money but, of course, to live there you would have to deal with the lack of work."

She said a small supply of "affordable" developments in town were too late to help most families.

"The market was struggling for any sort of housing 12 to 24 months ago, and now we have too much," she said.

Local real estate players insist the affordable market is improving.

Gladstone Mortgage Choice Limited franchisee manager Kellie Bebendorf said prices reflected incomes in Gladstone.

"I think it is very affordable now if you take an average income of people in town," she said.

"Our valuations since January have come down in excess of $50,000 to $80,000, so the affordability to get into the market is there.

"If you look at the graph of things in Gladstone, it's always gone up and down, up and down, since the first announcement of Bechtel's first project.

"(Now) we're at the bottom of the rollercoaster."

Ms Bebendorf said she bought her first home at 18, while she was working 40 hours a week for $200 at her primary job.

"If people want their own home they have to do the hard yards and save wisely," she said.

Gladstone LJ Hooker principal Mark Spearing said the Gladstone market represented good value "when you look at cost, building and land development."