Larry Schlesinger | 20 November 2012

Dutton Park mortgage stress debate continues as Resolution Research stands by figures

Brisbane-based firm Resolution Research says it stands by its 2011 census-derived research that households in Dutton Park, just south of the Brisbane CBD, are spending more than half (54%) of their income on repaying their mortgage and is thus has the highest level of mortgage stress in inner Brisbane.

The research used 2011 census data to compare weekly household income with monthly mortgage repayments to determine what percentage was going to paying off the home loan.

Dutton Park topped the list, followed by West End (44%) and then Woolloongabba (41%).

However Michael Matusik, director of property advisory firm Matusik Property Insights, rubbished the research. In a lengthy rebuttal article on his website he said that census data revealed that the ratio of mortgage payments to household income in Dutton Park averaged just 17%, meaning very little mortgage stress in the suburb.

“We stand by our analysis, which was correct at the time of the 2011 census,” Diana Howes, managing director of Resolution Research, tells Property Observer.

“We have reviewed the alternative methodology put forward [from Michael Matusik] and state as follows:

“'Our analysis has been thorough and correct at the time of the 2011 census, we have employed a methodology which has demonstrated itself to be accurate.  As with all economic data there are always varying opinions by analysts relative to outcomes.  We support our work and also the views of our peers.”

Howes directed Property Observer to the following page of census data, which shows the median weekly household income at $989 and median monthly mortgage repayments of $2,167.

Property Observer notes that on the same census 2011 data page, the data shows that only 3.8% of Dutton Park household have mortgage payments that are 30% or more of household income – the common definition of mortgage stress.

According to Matusik's calculations the average household income of a mortgage holder in Dutton Park is “$2,920 and not $989 as suggested, meaning that the real mortgage to relevant household income ratio is just 17%”.

“You have to dig deeper than the headline results to find the correct answers,” he said.

“It takes a lot of effort to scroll down from page one to page six of the seven pages of the 2011 Census QuickStats to find out the tenure profile and proportion of rent/mortgage paid by households in each location.

“It does actually take some time to then visit the expanded community profile, and to visit tables X14 to X16 to work out the actual household incomes for those paying a mortgage in each location."

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