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House deposit drain: How long it takes to save in Australia’s priciest suburbs

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Saving for a house deposit could take on average almost 20 years in some suburbs, according to startling new research by Finder.

Finder analysed property prices and incomes in each of Australia's capital cities, and in Australia's local government areas (LGAs), to determine where saving for a home is the most challenging.

Unsurprisingly, Sydney was the most expensive, with residents needing to spend just over 8 years on average to save for a home deposit.

Melbourne came in second place, with the average time to save a deposit taking 7 years and 4 months, followed by Hobart (6 years and 4 months) and Adelaide (5 years and 5 months).

Darwin came in as the most affordable capital city, with residents needing to spend only 3 years and 6 months – less than half the time it takes Sydneysiders – to save up for a home.

Average time to save a deposit by city

Capital cityMedian house/ unit priceDeposit (20%)Average weekly household incomeYears taken if saving 20% of income
Sydney$907,500$181,500$2,1178 years and 2 months
Melbourne$715,625$143,125$1,8857 years and 4 months
Hobart$515,000$103,000$1,5556 years and 4 months
Adelaide$452,500$90,500$1,6005 years and 5 months
Canberra$635,750$127,150$2,3445 years and 2 months
Perth$529,000$105,800$1,9725 years and 1 month
Brisbane$505,000$101,000$1,8875 years and 1 month
Darwin$440,000$88,000$2,4103 years and 6 months
All cities$591,450$118,290$1,9715 years and 10 months
Source: ABS, CoreLogic, Finder

Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money for Finder, said Australia's property prices had grown at a faster rate than incomes over the past few decades.

"In some suburbs, this contrast is more stark than others.

"It's mind-boggling just how long it could take homebuyers to save up for a deposit in some of the country's pricier suburbs.

"But this doesn't mean first home buyers should feel discouraged. Having a realistic budget and starting to save early on – even if it's just $100 a month – will put you on the right track."

Bringing together house price data and household income data, Finder's analysis reveals Sydney is home to the most expensive LGA, with residents needing on average over 18 years to save for a deposit in Woollahra.

This is followed closely by Mosman (18 years and 1 months) and Waverley (16 years and 6 months).

In fact, the top 10 LGAs where it takes the longest to save based on the average household income are in and around Sydney.

In Victoria, the LGA of Queenscliff takes the top gong – taking on average 12 years and 5 months to save for a house deposit.

Megginson said inner city suburbs – particularly in Sydney and Melbourne – can be very pricey as the demand there is high.

"If you're not willing to compromise on location, make sure you're keeping realistic expectations when it comes to size, style and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms."

On the other side of the spectrum, residents of Cobar in New South Wales need only 1 year and 8 months to save up for a deposit.

Tasmania's West Coast (1 year and 9 months) and Broken Hill in New South Wales (1 year and 10 months) round out the top 3 easiest regions to save up for a deposit.

Megginson said it was important to have an open mind and to look at all the schemes, grants and incentives that can help you buy a home.

"There are tens of thousands of dollars on offer from various government programs.

"Your first home is probably not going to be your dream home – and that's completely normal. You can always upsize to a larger home further down the track once you've built up some equity.

"In the meantime, you could consider investing in a more affordable property so you can get your foot on the property ladder sooner than later," Megginson said.

*Top and bottom 10 LGAs for NSW, Victoria, Queensland and SA available upon request

The LGAs where it takes the longest to save for a deposit

StateLGAMedian house/unit priceDeposit (20%)Average weekly household incomeYears taken if saving 20% of income
NSWWoollahra$2,950,000$590,000$3,10418 years and 2 months
NSWMosman$2,885,750$577,150$3,06318 years and 1 month
NSWWaverley$2,345,000$469,000$2,74216 years and 5 months
NSWHunters Hill$2,310,000$462,000$2,96115 years
NSWNorth Sydney$2,152,500$430,500$2,77614 years and 11 month
NSWRandwick$1,779,750$355,950$2,29914 years and 11 month
NSWStrathfield$1,662,500$332,500$2,17814 years and 7 months
NSWByron$1,108,750$221,750$1,49714 years and 2 months
NSWWilloughby$1,940,000$388,000$2,71913 years and 9 month
NSWBurwood$1,335,000$267,000$1,94113 years and 2 months
Source: ABS, CoreLogic, Finder

The LGAs where it takes the least amount of time to save for a deposit

StateLGAMedian house/unit priceDeposit (20%)Average weekly household incomeYears taken if saving 20% of income
NSWCobar$155,000$31,000$1,7481 year and 8 months
TASWest Coast$112,750$22,550$1,2581 year and 9 months
NSWBroken Hill$130,000$26,000$1,3341 year and 10 months
QLDIsaac$226,250$45,250$2,2921 year and 11 months
QLDBanana$190,000$38,000$1,8451 year and 11 months
WAPort Hedland$298,250$59,650$2,7962 years
QLDCentral Highlands$226,375$45,275$1,9962 years and 1 month
VICYarriambiack$135,000$27,000$1,1862 years and 1 month
SAWattle Range$156,913$31,383$1,3572 years and 2 months
WAKalgoorlie/ Boulder$265,000$53,000$2,2492 years and 2 months
Source: ABS, CoreLogic, Finder


  • Household income data is from the 2016 ABS Census.
  • House price data is from CoreLogic as of June 2021.
  • Property prices are the average of unit and house prices in each region.
  • Excludes LGAs that have had less than 100 property sales in the past 12 months.
  • Assumes homebuyers put 20% of their annual income towards saving for a deposit.

Hoping to enter the market? Check out our tips for first home buyers or compare home loans for low deposit borrowers.

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