A NEW study has challenged the view that housing affordability for families has worsened significantly over the decades.
The reason is that most families now have two breadwinners because there are many more women working.
Social researcher and KPMG partner Bernard Salt compared wages and house prices between now and the post-war period in the study out today for the Commonwealth Bank.
He found the average salary in the early 1950s was 525 pounds and a three-bedroom brick-veneer house in outer Melbourne cost about 3750 pounds.
Today, average annual household income is $127,000 and the same house is about $850,000.
Mr Salt said the ratio between home prices and income remained about seven-to-one, making affordability similar across time.
“You’ve got two breadwinners and that’s been built into people’s preparedness to spend money on the family home,” he said.
Mr Salt said homes were generally much bigger and better equipped than in the 1950s, showing the growing influence of women as they became better educated and made their own income.
“They are busy working mums, they can afford it.
“They want the whole granite kitchen happening, all the modern appliances.”
The Changing Nature of Home Ownership in Australia report also shows the average backyard has shrunk from 220sq m in the 1950s to 46sq m today.
Mr Salt said there were fewer things such as vegetable patches and rotary clotheslines, while backyard cricket had given way to more structured sports for kids outside the home.