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Here's how much you REALLY need to earn to buy a house in your city

Samantha Menzies
Senior editor – Finance
How much you really need to earn to buy a house. Source: Getty Images

House prices in Melbourne and Sydney might be suffering their steepest decline yet, but you’d still need the salary of a politician or a paediatrician to afford a detached home even at the lower end of the property market.

The national average salary for a full-time worker in Australia about $82,000 a year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Homeowners are consider to be suffering from ‘mortgage stress’ if their repayments exceed 30 per cent of their income.

This means the regular Australian earning the average salary would struggle to own a home worth much more than $500,000 (assuming they have a 20 per cent up front deposit).

That is half of Sydney’s median house price of $900,000 and well below Melbourne’s $740,000.

“Unless you have huge savings, and a huge income, then buying in our two biggest cities will be largely out of reach,” Sarah Tindall from financial comparison website RateCity told Nine Finance.

The salary you need to buy a $1m home 

Canstar analysis says those hoping to buy a median priced house worth about $1 million need to be on an individual wage of $160,611 and have a 20 per cent deposit.

“Not too many first home buyers enter the market with a $165,000 salary,” Canstar’s home loan expert Steve Mickenbecker told  

In Melbourne, where the median house price is about $737,000, homeowners need to earn more than $112,000 to comfortably pay their mortgage.

Nerida Conisbee, chief economist at, said buyers should wait for the market to fall further in the wake of 11.1 per cent and 9.1 per cent slides in Sydney and Melbourne respectively last year.

“Take your time. There’s certainly no rush to buy housing in Sydney at the moment,” she said.

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