Another issue concerning the Australian residential property market is the decrease in foreign investors. The boom in real estate sales to foreign investors fell to the lowest proportion in years. This might be owing to the introduction of higher state taxes on foreign investment, but also constraints in the investors' home countries. Capital controls in China limiting the ability for citizens to get their money out of the country, especially for property purchases, might be an explanation for the drop in Chinese demand, for instance.
Considering the median house prices in major Australian cities, it is not surprising that the number of house owners has steadily decreased. Nonetheless, the majority of Australian households still live in separate houses, followed by semi-detached or townhouses and similar dwellings. Of course, rental costs have also risen over the last decade, increasing the problem of affordable housing for young people even more.
In line with the rise in house prices, prices for land have also increased drastically in the last decade. Whereas the price per square meter of land in Sydney reached 560 Australian dollars in 2010, it surged to over 1,200 Australian dollars in 2017. Of course, Sydney tops the list of land prices; it is followed by Melbourne and Perth with land prices reaching 692 and 605 Australian dollars per square meter respectively.
Owing to the increase in property prices, housing finance becomes a bigger issue as well. It used to take between four to six years for homebuyers in major cities to save a deposit and surged to eight to 15 years in recent years. As a consequence, the share of mortgage holders whose home is worth less than the amount they are owing increases and less and less Australians intent to take out a home loan.