Aussie housing 'severely unaffordable'

House prices in Australia are to remain unaffordable and out of the reach of many until 2020, new research shows.

A study by the University of Canberra and AMP found that median house prices jumped 147 per cent to $417,000 between 2001 and 2011.

At more than half-a million dollars, Sydney remains the most expensive place to buy a house with a median house price of $510,000, (around $550,000 US) while Hobart is the cheapest.

Ben Phillips from the University of Canberra is the lead author of the report says housing in Australia has become severely unaffordable and will remain so for at least the next 10 years.

He says house prices in Sydney only increased 83 per cent, citing that a lot of their price increases happened in the 1990s.

"It depends which region you're in but across the country we saw house price increases of 150 per cent. Somewhere like Perth there were actually increases that were more than tripling - 221 per cent," Phillips said.

The report found regional areas are also becoming unaffordable.

"It's now the case that these cities are actually just as unaffordable as somewhere like Sydney or Melbourne and the reason for this is because whilst their house prices are a little bit lower, their incomes are significantly lower than a city like Sydney," Phillips said.

Housing stress was now prevalent for people on a single income, particularly single parents, said Phillips.

Sydney is also the most housing "stressed" city, with 28% of households spending more than 30% of after-tax income on housing expenses, followed by Perth at 23%, Brisbane at 19%, Melbourne at 18%, Adelaide at 16%, ACT/NT at 17% and Hobart at 13%.

"I guess the distinction in this report though is we've sort of split it up into the housing haves and the housing have-nots, and the affordability report looks very much at those trying to get into the market as opposed to those who are already in the market," he said.