The real reason you can't afford a house

SKY-high housing prices have been blamed on everything from foreign investment to greedy Baby Boomers hogging the market.

But according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull there's a more obvious reason behind unaffordable housing - red tape.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Turnbull said NSW councils were taking too long to approve development applications which he believed was fuelling Sydney's high housing prices.

Mr Turnbull said Sydney councils were taking three times as long to approve DAs than their counterparts in Brisbane.

He also said while stamp duty concessions would help get more people into the market, it wasn't the only answer.

"We're not asking people to compromise on planning standards, but it shouldn't take you 18 months to get a DA if in other cities it can take you six months," he said.

The Property Council of NSW said Sydney's DA system was "the worst in the world."

Auctioneer Adrian Bo from McGrath Coogee sold a unit in Randwick, Sydney, for $1.425 million last August
Auctioneer Adrian Bo from McGrath Coogee sold a unit in Randwick, Sydney, for $1.425 million last August Adam Taylor - News Corp Australia

However a spokeswoman for the Local Government of NSW dismissed the idea that councils were behind the property crisis.

"If property developers were genuinely concerned about housing affordability they could always reduce their enormous profits by including more affordable housing in their developments," she said.

Mr Turnbull's comments come just days after a new report found it takes around eight years to save up a big enough deposit to buy a median-priced home in Sydney.

The Bankwest report also showed that the average Australian couple spent 4.4 years saving up for a 20 per cent deposit to buy a median-priced house in 2016.

It follows a similar report from CoreLogic and the Australian National University which revealed that it took 139 per cent of a household's annual income in September 2016 to get that 20 per cent deposit together.

Housing affordability remains a core concern of the Property Council of Australia which is urging the government to tackle the crisis in the coming months.

According to the council, stamp duty is just one of the areas in need of urgent reform with the typical buyer in NSW forking out an average of $40,000.

Topics:  editors picks housing housing affordability malcolm turnbull red tape

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