A new report by the Real Estate Institute of Australia for the March 2016 quarter showed that the ACT continues to be the most affordable jurisdiction for housing across the country, with the average ACT homeowner spending 19.3 per cent of their family’s income on mortgage repayments--well below the national average of 30 per cent.

The affordability levels in ACT is also buoyed by a high median income of $2,580 on average--almost $1,000 more than the national average.

According to inner south resident Charlie Alliott, most Canberrans do not realise how lucky they are. “We have a wonderful environment, great institutions, high wages, and employment and excellent schools,” he said. “We’re able to have a large backyard with swimming pool and menagerie--chooks, dogs, cats, finches, and quail--while being able to walk to excellent restaurants and cultural institutions. You wouldn’t find that combination in the inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.”

But while this bodes well for those earning average to high wages, it is a different story for those with low to moderate household incomes.

“What the report states is true based on average incomes, but the ACT has quite a different income distribution to other states, because about one-third of people are employed in the Australian and ACT public service,” said ACT Shelter executive officer Travis Gilbert. “There is simply very little capacity to save in private rental in the ACT for people on below-average incomes as our rents are the third highest in Australia after Sydney and Melbourne.”

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