Housing costs are actually the same as in 1993, but renters still struggle

Even though house prices have risen substantially over recent decades, housing costs as a share of income have barely shifted in over 20 years. Costs relative to disposable income for housing are largely unchanged, at 17% since 1993, although there has been some increase since 2000.

There is no agreed measure for defining housing affordability, but just looking at house prices can be deceptive. Australian households are roughly equally split between purchasing, renting or owning their house outright.

There is no doubt that house prices increased substantially over recent decades. According to CoreLogic over the past 20 years the median house price in Australia increased from A$140,000 in December 1997 to A$540,000 by December 2017 – an annual increase of 7%. Relative to disposable income this represents a 68% increase over the 20-year period.

Australian households are roughly equally split between purchasing, renting or owning their house outright. Highly inflated house prices are more concerning to people wishing to move from renting to purchasing a house (mostly potential first home buyers).

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