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State hit hardest by single bill

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Families in one state are spending more than half their income on their mortgage repayments.

Housing affordability in NSW has hit a horrifying record low with families forced to fork out more than half their weekly income just to keep a roof over their heads.

The report by the Real Estate Institute of Australia found families in NSW were forced to spend 58.5 per cent of their weekly income to meet home loan repayments.

The state ranked worst in housing affordability between October-December 2023, with average monthly repayments rising by almost $800 from late-last year.

Renters in NSW faired little better in the report, with the median family income required to meet payments still the highest in the country despite decreases.

The percentage of family income needed to make home loan repayments. Picture: REIA
The percentage of family income needed to make home loan repayments. Picture: REIA

Families in late-2023 were being forced to spend almost a third – 27.3 per cent – of their income on their rent, compared to 21.1 per cent in neighbouring Victoria.

While families south of the Murray River generally fared better in the latest REIA report, both rental and housing affordability fell in the last quarter of 2023.

Residents in the state were required to spend 46.8 per cent of their weekly income on home loan repayments, an increase of 1.6 per cent from the previous quarter.

The Sunshine State came in a close third according to the report, with Queenslanders spending 45.1 per cent of their income on home loans and 22.3 per cent on rent.

South Australia and Tasmania followed close behind with families spending 44.3 per cent and 43.4 per cent of their income on loan repayments respectively.

The Northern Territory and the ACT were found to be the most affordable when it came to proportion of weekly income, followed by Western Australia.

Home loan and rent payments across the country. Picture: REIA
Home loan and rent payments across the country. Picture: REIA

Canberrans were spending less than 20 per cent of their weekly income on rent and just over 35.2 per cent on their home loan repayments in late-2023.

Critically, the report found families in the ACT on average earned almost $800 a week more than their NSW counterparts.

The average home loan was also about $170,000 smaller than its neighbour, though it was about $100,000 more expensive than WA and $170,000 more than the NT.

Families in the country’s north were spending only 33 per cent of their weekly income on their home loan repayments, and 24 per cent on their rent.

While marginally more expensive according to the report, WA families were still spending almost $600 more per month on their repayments in 2023 than in 2022.

Where families are buying homes

The report also found the number of first home buyers rose by a whopping 16.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2023, with about 31,445 families entering the market.

Despite the country’s worst statistics for homeowners, NSW recorded more than 1300 more first home buyers between October-December 2023 than in 2022.

Nonetheless, Victoria reported having the most first home buyers over that time period – 10,000 – and new home loans more broadly, just shy of 24,000.

South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT all reported rises in first home buyers, while Queensland and the Northern Territory remained stable.