Here's how much you need to earn to afford a mid-range home in your capital city (2024)

National figures show the cost of buying a home is going up.

A new report from property data tracker CoreLogic shows the median dwelling values in Australia increased a further 0.7 per cent in June.

Across the past financial year, dwelling values grew by 8 per cent.

Here's a breakdown of median property values across Australia's capital cities, and how much income you'd need to purchase at that price.

How much is the median home price for each capital city?

Here's where median prices are sitting across the country, as at June 30, 2024.

These numbers account for units and houses.

According to data from CoreLogic, the median dwelling price in Australia now sits at $793,883.

That's a $59,000 increase on the previous financial year.

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said the national index has "found its groove", rising between 0.5 per cent and 0.8 per cent each month since February 2024.

But while home values increased at a national level during June, Melbourne posted a 0.2 per cent drop.

Perth saw the most growth at 2 per cent, followed by Adelaide and Brisbane.

So how much money do I need to buy in my capital city?

This may change from person to person, so we've taken a broad approach to get a more general picture.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says anyone who spends more than 30 per cent of their income on housing is under housing stress.

And this has become the go-to figure many use when talking about budget and housing affordability.

It has been criticised as unrealistic because housing costs chew up much more than 30 per cent of some people's income, but it still holds water when talking about hypothetical affordability.

With that in mind, here are the net incomes – which could be individual or combined — needed to afford a dwelling at the median value in each capital city.

We've ranked them from highest to lowest after-tax incomes:

  1. 1.Sydney: $238,800
  2. 2.Canberra: $177,672
  3. 3.Brisbane: $175,440
  4. 4.Melbourne: $159,600
  5. 5.Adelaide: $156,876
  6. 6.Perth: $154,716
  7. 7.Hobart: $132,000
  8. 8.Darwin: $103,236

How did we calculate this?

We used the median dwelling price data as a starting point, working out the the loan size and then average repayments.

Then, we factored in the assumption that our hypothetical homebuyer is only spending 30 per cent of their income on housing.

We also made the following assumptions in our calculations:

  • A 20 per cent deposit is paid
  • The loan carries the current standard variable interest rate of 6.57 per cent
  • The duration of the loan is 30 years

Our formula

  1. 1.Calculate the size of the loan by removing 20 per cent (the deposit) from the dwelling value: Median dwelling price x 0.8
  2. 2.Find the monthly repayment cost by entering the above dwelling price, interest rate (6.57 per cent) and length of the loan (30 years) into the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's mortgage calculator
  3. 3.Calculate the monthly income needed for repayments to make up just 30 per cent: 10 x (Monthly repayment cost ÷ 3)
  4. 4.Calculate the annual net income needed: Monthly income x 12

For example, here's how we found the net income required in Adelaide:

  • Median house price: $767,974
  • Loan size: $767,974 x 0.8 = $614,379.2
  • Mortgage calculator: $3,922 per month
  • Net income per month: 10($3,922 ÷ 3) = $13,073.33
  • Net income per year: $13,073.33 x 12 = $156,979.96

But these are general numbers

It's important to note the limitations to these figures.

The realities first homebuyers are facing might look very different to the set of circ*mstances these basic calculations assume.

For one thing, we're assuming people have saved up enough to have a 20 per cent deposit, a savings goal many homebuyers find unrealistic.

We're also looking at the median house value — not top of the range or lower-quality homes.

And keep in mind these are net incomes, which is the amount of money people earn after they've paid tax.

It's tough to give a gross income figure because it depends on how many people are purchasing the property and which tax band each person is in.

There's also no magic number when it comes to describing the ideal percentage of a person's income that should be spent on their mortgage.

While 30 per cent is often said to be the maximum a household should spend to avoid mortgage stress, the reality is more complicated.

Lower income households in particular can experience stress even while spending smaller chunks of their income on housing.

The opposite is often true of higher income households, who can generally afford to put a greater percentage of their income towards housing costs while still maintaining a comfortable standard of living.

The 30 per cent theory also usually applies to pre-tax incomes.

But since we've applied it to after-tax figures, the necessary incomes we've calculated will be higher than the theory would normally call for.

Is buying property out of reach?

While prices are continuing to rise, there is optimism in the housing sector that first-home buyers still have ways in.

PRD Real Estate chief economist Diaswati Mardiasmo said most incoming supply is made up of townhouses and units.

"Someone earning $90,000 … can have access to only 11.4 per cent of houses sold in Brisbane but can [afford] 52.5 per cent of units."

There's also been a decline in the proportion of income needed to meet average loan repayments, from 47.7 per cent in the December quarter to 46.7 per cent in March.

"This is reflective of our market returning to that 'usual pace', which will give some room for first-home buyers to enter," Dr Mardiasmo added.

"I do believe property prices will continue to rise, simply due to the wide gap in demand and supply, however we won't see the big price growth like post-COVID-19.

"This is due to higher interest rates and a more cautious buyer base.

"That said, this observation is for the whole of Australia in general — there will be some markets that will grow faster than others due to a bigger demand and supply imbalance."

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Here's how much you need to earn to afford a mid-range home in your capital city (2024)


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