Just your average ‘mortgage-belt Liberal’? We fact-check the PM’s home loan claim

The PM said Hassan Khalif Shire Ali  was a terrorist and he cannot be excused.

The PM said Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was a terrorist and he cannot be excused. Photo: Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison claims he’s just a regular NRL-loving, Aussie rock-listening family man struggling to pay off an ‘average-sized’ home loan.

But can a man earning more than $500,000 a year really claim to be in touch with the reality of the average Australian home owner?

Let’s take a look at the facts and see how Mr Morrison compares to the average Australian home owner.

The PM’s claim

In an interview released on Saturday, Mr Morrison described himself as a “mortgage-belt Liberal”, telling The Daily Telegraph he’s servicing an average-sized mortgage with “lots of zeros on it”.

The 50-year-old politician also said he had dealt with financial pressures over the years, just like most families.

Scott Morrison’s earnings v the average

Mr Morrison joined the federal parliament as Member for Cook in 2007, earning an MP’s then-base salary of $127,060.

By 2009, the year he and wife Jenny bought their current home, Mr Morrison’s salary had risen to $131,040, more than double the then-average wage.

According to the parliamentary library the average male wage in 2009 was $60,623.

Over the next few years as Australians saw their wages stagnate in the aftermath of the GFC, Mr Morrison’s fortunes were on the rise.

Promoted to the cabinet portfolio of immigration minister in December 2014 under then-prime minister Tony Abbott, Mr Morrison’s salary shot up to $336,599.

By contrast, the parliamentary library reported that the average Australian male wage in 2014 was $71,171.

Mr Morrison’s promotion to treasurer in September 2015 saw his salary rise to $365,868.

As prime minister, Mr Morrison can expect to earn $527,854 over the next year, if successful in the upcoming federal election.

Earlier this year, while selling his budget’s tax cuts for high-income earners, the-then treasurer claimed the average Australian earned $84,600 a year.

The New Daily fact-checked the figures, and revealed that the average full-time wage was $81,843, while the average wage for all workers was just $62,128.

The median wage for all workers, considered a more accurate metric, was $55,063.

Scott Morrison’s home loan v the average

Prior to moving to the Sydney prime ministerial residence Kirribilli House last weekend, the family of four lived in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a pool at Port Hacking.

The Morrison family home at Port Hacking. Photo: View

With two young daughters, Mr Morrison said a move to Canberra’s official residence, The Lodge, was out of the question.

“There was no suggestion of moving to Canberra – we are trying to keep things as normal as possible,” he told the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader on Monday.

The Morrisons purchased the Port Hacking home by private treaty in July 2009 for $920,000, nearly double Sydney’s then-median dwelling price.

Sydney dwelling prices and household income. Source: CoreLogic

Parliamentary registers of interests reveal Mr and Mrs Morrison purchased the home with a mortgage from the Commonwealth Bank, adding a Viridian line-of-credit to their mortgage by 2013.

Assuming the Morrisons paid a 20 per cent deposit, they would have been left to pay off a principal of $736,000, plus interest.

In July 2009, CommBank’s standard variable home loan rate was 5.74 per cent, meaning that if the Morrisons went with a variable mortgage they would have started out paying approximately $4636 per month over the course of a standard 25-year loan, subject to interest rates variations.

The purchase was also perfectly timed to ride the property price boom, and median prices in the area have since doubled, with the home now estimated to be worth between $1.6 million and $1.83 million.

Home buyers who bought towards the tail end of the property price boom, with prices peaking by September last year, haven’t been so lucky.

Source: CoreLogic

Analysis of home loan affordability by CoreLogic shows that it takes the average household in Sydney 12.1 years to save a 20 per cent deposit for a home.

In June 2018, the median household income in Sydney was $1791 a week, according to property data analysts CoreLogic.

An average of 48.4 per cent of household income was required to service a typical mortgage in Sydney as of June 2018, the figures show.

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