It’s now much harder for single people on high incomes and middle-income couples to buy homes than it was ten years ago.
A study by the Productivity Commission and Treasury shows that by the end of the last property boom, only 31% of those who did not own a house could afford to, compared to 81% in 2004.
The study classified housing as unaffordable when its costs represented more than 30% of income.
Treasury’s David Law said: "If you are a couple with high income then it would take quite a substantial change in housing market conditions before you really are struggling to afford because you might have two very good incomes, for singles, on the other hand, you've only got one income to work with.”
Those on lower incomes weren’t so noticeably affected because property prices were out of their reach at the start of the period.
Law said current low interest rates were improving affordability across the spectrum.
But he said the study proved more needed to be done to help first-home buyers.