Housing in every mainland capital city has become so expensive that teachers, police and other key workers cannot afford to live in the communities they serve, according to new research.
The Key Worker Housing Affordability Report, released by BankWest, found that 78 percent of local government areas in capital cities are unaffordable for key workers – which include nurses, firefighters, teachers, police officers and ambulance officers.
In Sydney, the nation’s least affordable city, the average house price is 7.7 times the median salary of a key worker.
While all key workers are doing it tough, nurses and teachers have the most difficulty entering the housing market. For nurses, 98 percent of local government areas (LGAs) are unaffordable, while in nearly 50 percent of LGAs houses cost 10 times a nurse’s salary.
Teachers fare slightly better, with 96 percent of areas being unaffordable but police officers are best –placed, being able to afford property in 78 percent of LGAs across the country.
“Our research shows that key workers are still doing it tough across Australia with most being locked out of the property market in the city they serve,” said Bankwest retail chief executive Ian Corfield.
“These are the essential workers Australians rely on every day to provide important services and most continue to be priced out of the housing in the communities in which they serve.”
House prices continue to rise much quicker than key worker salaries and median house prices are now more than five times the average salary of a key worker in every capital city except Hobart. Nationally, the average house price is more than 6 times the annual salary of a key worker.
The least affordable states are Western Australia and NSW, with suburbs in those states making up the ten most unaffordable LGAs.
WA’s Peppermint Grove was least affordable with key workers needing 50.9 times their annual salary to buy the average priced house. In that suburb, a firefighter would need 73.8 times their salary to buy.
While buying a home in the area in which they work remains an impossible dream for many key workers, overall housing affordability improved marginally over the past year with house prices falling by around 2 percent, the BankWest report found.
This time last year, every capital city was unaffordable for key workers.