It takes more than eight times the average annual income to buy an average Sydney home, says a report by a housing action group.
Australians for Affordable Housing - which is made up of 60 community and housing groups - launched the report as part of a push to make housing more affordable.
"Australian households are paying more than they can afford for housing, with over 740,000 renters and more than 380,000 mortgaged homeowners reporting significant financial stress," spokeswoman Sarah Toohey said.
In Sydney, it takes 8.1 times the average annual income to afford the median house, up from 5.6 times in 2001. The group says increased prices cause first-time buyers to stay in the rental market for longer, competing for properties and pushing up rental prices. Since 2005, rents in Australian cities have risen at twice the rate of inflation.
"Housing is the biggest single expense in Australia and that means that is putting pressure on the other basics," Toohey said.
Toohey said house prices had risen by 146 per cent over the past 10 years, outstripping a 57 per cent increase in household incomes.
Her group is proposing a number of measures, including boosting low-cost rental stock, changing housing tax investment arrangements for residential property, providing more help for low-income households to buy property and increasing home construction. Housing programmes, such as the federal Government's A$7000 first home owners grant, are often not effective, the AAH claims.
First-home buyers as a share of total home loans issued totalled 15.2 per cent in July, below the 20-year average of 19.9 per cent, official data showed this month. The average home loan for a first-time buyer was A$282,700 in July, a 75 per cent increase on the 20-year average of A$161,700.
15.2 per cent
First-home buyers as a share of total home loans issued
The average home loan for a first-time buyer