Renting vs buying: How much do Australians spend on housing?

Couple and real estate agent in kitchen at home inspection, looking at the cost of renting or buying a house.

There’s no way to skirt around it – housing affordability in Australia has been declining for decades, with both homeowners and renters facing greater housing stress.

When considering what proportion of your income should be dedicated to housing, a rough figure of 30% is usually the benchmark. If a larger proportion of your paycheck goes towards keeping a roof over your head, you’re likely to feel financial strain. This doesn’t necessarily include higher-income households with more wiggle room in their budget, and is usually applied to those earning in the lower half of national incomes.

But whether you’re paying down a home loan or have just signed a new rental lease, it can be a useful measure to compare against your own spending as property and rental prices shift.

While statistics vary depending on housing types and locations, a joint ANZ CoreLogic report has found Australians are often dedicating a greater percentage of their income to housing. The report considers median dwelling values and rents against median income through to the June 2021 quarter. 

It found the portion of household income required to service a new mortgage (excluding home loan deposits) sits at an average of 37.2% across Australia. This smashes the decade average of 34.7% and surpasses the peak of March 2012, when the cash rate was elevated at 4.25% compared to the now record-low rate of 0.10%.

Only 29.4% of an average renter’s income was dedicated to their lease, but this marks the highest percentage on record according to ANZ and CoreLogic. 

And for now, both rent and property prices are still growing. In September, Domain recorded house purchase price growth in seven out of the eight capital cities, with the majority of house and unit rentals in these areas also increasing.

So, it may be a good time to reflect on what you’re looking for in a home, as well as the costs that come alongside the choice to rent or buy. 

Renting pros and cons

On the positive side of things, renting gives you greater flexibility both in where you live and what you dedicate your money towards. This is largely because it’s much easier and cheaper to jump between rentals than it is to buy and sell a home. Plus, not funnelling all your savings into a single investment (your property and the costs associated with it) means you can spread out your cash to potentially reap greater rewards from things like share trading or investing in your education.

But of course, the main catch of renting is that it’s always going to be there. While it may take decades to pay off a mortgage, by the end of that road you’ll likely be left with a much smaller housing bill than ongoing rental payments. And while property can be an asset, as a renter you’ll usually be juggling some level of instability as you don’t have control over some aspects of your living situation.

Home ownership pros and cons

As you’d imagine, the positives of home ownership are generally the flipside to renting. Since you own the place, you have greater stability and freedom in how you use and change the space you live in. As you pay down your mortgage you’re also building equity in an asset which could be sold for a profit or used to fund something like an investment property purchase or to kick-start a small business.

But beyond the costs involved in purchasing a home – from legal fees to land taxes and the massive task of saving for a home loan deposit – there are plenty of ongoing costs involved in owning property. You’ll probably want your home and belongings covered by home and contents insurance, it’s likely that maintenance and repairs will be required over the years, and you’ll of course be paying interest on the mortgage. 

Saving for a home deposit in 2021

According to ANZ and CoreLogic, it now takes the average buyer who can put away 15% of their income 10.2 years to save up a 20% deposit on a median-value home in Australia. While there are a bunch of home buyer support schemes available which may help you save a deposit or access financing, this savings schedule is another record-high.

If putting down that deposit is on your horizon, you’ll want to find a home loan that’s low on fees and has handy features that suit your personal finance habits. To find your mortgage match, figure out what’s ideal for you and start comparing these factors in the home loan options below.

Home loan comparisons on Mozo

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Last updated 22 July 2024 Important disclosures and comparison rate warning*
  • Unloan Variable

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    5.99 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    5.90 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,995
    Go to site

    Built by CommBank, the Unloan is the first home loan with an increasing discount (conditions apply) for borrowers. No application or banking fees. No monthly account keeping or early exit fees. Apply online in minutes.

  • Neat Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <60%
    Interest rate
    6.09 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.11 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,027
    Go to site

    Competitively-priced variable rate loan. Ideal for owner occupiers and investors. No service fees to pay. Make free extra repayments and redraws. Flexible repayment schedule available.

  • Optimum Fixed Rate Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    5.69 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.34 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,899
    Go to site

    Lock in a competitive interest rate and enjoy peace of mind for the fixed period. Available for owner occupied new and refinanced home loans with at least 20% deposit. Split option available as well as offset and redraw. Noapplication, ongoing or banking fees. Third Party fees may be applicable - payable within loan repayments. Extra repayments up to $20K per annum permitted. Apply online, 100% member owned credit union.

  • Special Real Deal Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    6.09 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.13 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,027
    Go to site

    Refinancers or first home buyers pay no monthly or annual fees. Flexibility to choose your repayment schedule (weekly, fortnightly or monthly). Redraw facility available. Split your home loan into multiple loan accounts.

  • Optimum Fixed Rate Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    5.69 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.34 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,899
    Go to site

    Lock in a competitive interest rate and enjoy peace of mind for the fixed period. Available for owner occupied new and refinanced home loans with at least 20% deposit. Split option available as well as offset and redraw. Noapplication, ongoing or banking fees. Third Party fees may be applicable - payable within loan repayments. Extra repayments up to $20K per annum permitted. Apply online, 100% member owned credit union.

  • Unloan Variable

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    5.99 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    5.90 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,995
    Go to site

    Built by CommBank, the Unloan is the first home loan with an increasing discount (conditions apply) for borrowers. No application or banking fees. No monthly account keeping or early exit fees. Apply online in minutes.

  • Flex Home Loan

    • Fixed
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <60%
    Interest rate
    5.99 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.34 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,995
    Go to site

    Competitive Fixed rate. Multiple offset accounts available. Borrowers can also make extra repayments. Redraw facility available. Simple online application process. 40% deposit required.

  • Express Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <90%
    Interest rate
    6.01 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,001
    Go to site

    Get online approval from the award-winning Bendigo Bank Express Home Loan. Multiple offset accounts and redraw available. 100% offset on variable rate loans and partial offset on fixed rate. Flexible repayment options. New home loans only.

  • Neat Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <60%
    Interest rate
    6.09 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.11 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,027
    Go to site

    Competitively-priced variable rate loan. Ideal for owner occupiers and investors. No service fees to pay. Make free extra repayments and redraws. Flexible repayment schedule available.

  • Special Real Deal Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    6.09 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.13 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,027
    Go to site

    Refinancers or first home buyers pay no monthly or annual fees. Flexibility to choose your repayment schedule (weekly, fortnightly or monthly). Redraw facility available. Split your home loan into multiple loan accounts.

  • Fixed Rate Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    6.09 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.15 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,027

    Additional repayments of up to $10K per fixed year. Interest rate discounts available. Waiver of $499 application fee when combined with an Orange Advantage Home Loan.

  • Basic Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<60%
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.16 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Enjoy a low rate home loan with $0 application fee and $0 ongoing fees. Flexibility to split your loan and set different repayment types. Fee free redraw from your loan using online banking. Flexible ways to repay. 40% Deposit required.

  • Mortgage Simplifier

    • LVR<80%
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.17 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043

    Get a competitive variable rate with ING’s Mortgage Simplifier. Free extra repayments, no monthly or annual fees. Freedom to make free extra repayments or redraws.

  • Flex Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <60%
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.38 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Competitive variable rate. Multiple offset accounts available. Borrowers can also make extra repayments. Redraw facility available. Simple online application process. 40% deposit required.

  • Offset Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<60%
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.39 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Ability to open up to 10 offset accounts per loan account. Fast online application. Linked Debit Mastercard® with fee-free access at ATMs across Australia. Package a credit card with your home loan and the annual card fee will be waived (T&Cs apply). 40% deposit required.

  • Basic Home Loan

    • Fixed
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR<70%
    Interest rate
    6.25 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.20 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,079
    Go to site

    No upfront or ongoing fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Option to earn Qantas points. Min 30% deposit required. Borrow up to $10,000,000.

  • Offset Home Loan

    • Fixed
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <70%
    Interest rate
    6.25 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.42 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,079
    Go to site

  • Fixed Rate

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • <80% LVR
    Interest rate
    6.54 % p.a.
    Fixed 2 years
    Comparison rate
    7.10 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,174

    Enjoy up to $3000 cashback for eligible first home buyers and $2000 cashback for refinancers on eligible home loans with the ANZ Fixed Rate Home Loan. Get the security of repayment certainty with a competitive locked in rate. No ongoing fees to pay. Offset account on 1-year fixed loans ($10/month fee applies). Interest-only payments allowed.

image of houses

Need help with refinancing?

You might have questions that need personal answers. We’ve teamed up with the mortgage brokers at Lendi to get you the answers you need, and a home loan deal you deserve.

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* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

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