Saving for a house deposit is taking Australian couples longer than ever, according to a new Bankwest report.
The report shows Australian couples will need to save for an average 4.2 years to accumulate the almost $100,000 needed for a 20 per cent deposit on the median-priced home.
On average, they will need to save $5,900 more than they would have had to in 2014.
In Sydney, the time needed to save a deposit was nearly twice as long, at 7.9 years.
In contrast, Hobart first home buyers needed 3.4 years and Adelaide-dwellers 3.6 years.
Bankwest's Andrew Whitechurch said the increase in house prices was already having an effect on buyer behaviour, with the number of first-time buyers entering the market declining by 2.6 per cent in the year to June 2015.
"We can see that where first-time buyers may be struggling to enter the property market, it is exacerbated by more investors and non-first-time buyers being active in those markets," Mr Whitechurch said.
On average, couples wanting to buy in New South Wales face the longest saving times, with those on an average wage taking 5.3 years to save a deposit of $128,100. This is up from 4.8 years in 2014.
It will take 4.4 years to save a first home in Victoria, followed by 4.1 years in the ACT and 3.9 years in Queensland.
In the regions, the cheapest areas include Tasmania's West Coast and the Central Darling in far west New South Wales, where it would take first time buyer couples just eight months to save a deposit.
Deposit savings times were calculated on the basis of a first-time buyer couple setting aside 20 per cent of their combined pre-tax income annually.
Governments need to take lead on affordable housing: expert The housing affordability problem is not confined to Australia, with the UK facing similar issues, according to Lord Bob Kerslake.
"I think Sydney and London are facing very similar problems," he told ABC News 24.
One of the problems for people is the price of housing is going up faster than their pay is going up. So the gap isn't staying the same, it's getting bigger.
Lord Bob Kerslake"You see boom cities growing rapidly, population growing, but housing supply just hasn't kept pace.
"What is happening is ordinary people are being priced out of housing and housing is becoming a speculative property investment and not a home."
Lord Bob said there was a good case for state governments to become the lead providers on affordable housing.
"Moving potentially to community-based housing association-type models as we have in the UK," he said.
"They can often provide a more focused, flexible management and tackle some of the other issues like employment that come up at the same time."
He also advocated shared ownership models, where people buy 70 per cent of the property and pay rent for the remaining 30 per cent.
"So you can basically get a property for a lower initial down payment and then over time, as the property rises or your income goes up, then you can buy out the rest of the property," he said.
"So it's a very powerful way of people getting on that housing ladder.
"One of the problems for people is the price of housing is going up faster than their pay is going up. So the gap isn't staying the same, it's getting bigger and shared ownership is a really smart way of helping people into that."