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By Brett Warren

3.6 weeks worth of pay needed to cover average monthly home loan repayment – new data reveals

How much of Aussies' working hours is being allocated to home loan repayments?

Well, according to Canstar's latest research, Australian mortgage holders are slaving away for 3.6 weeks each month to cover the cost of the average monthly home loan repayment.

Further, the research found out that homeowners repaying the average loan of $584,836 and earning an annual average wage of $72,000 need to work 135.34 hours or 17.81 days in the month, which is the equivalent of over three and a half weeks, to afford their $3,883 monthly loan repayment.

A dual income reduces the burden by half, down to 67.67 working hours or 8.9 days in the month required by each person to cover the same amount, which is just shy of two working weeks.

Working hours per month needed to pay average home loan



Before-tax Annual Income


After-tax Annual Income


Average Loan Size

Monthly Mortgage Repayment

(6.98%, P&I, 30 Years)


Working Hours Single Income

Working Hours Dual Income

(2 x Annual income, hours per person)

NSW $75,000 $58,658 $720,458 $4,784 161.16

(21.21 days)


(10.60 days)

VIC $72,000 $56,693 $599,398 $3.980 138.72

(18.25 days)


(9.13 days)

QLD $69,000 $54,728 $521,574 $3,463 125.03

(16.45 days)


(8.23 days)

SA $65,000 $52,108 $467,471 $3,104 117.71

(15.49 days)


(7.74 days)

WA $78,000 $60,623 $472,092 $3,135 102.18

(13.44 days)


(6.72 days)

TAS $62,000 $50,143 $465,254 $3,089 121.73

(16.02 days)


(8.01 days)

NT $76,000 $59,313 $425,510 $2,825 94.11

(12.38 days)


(6.19 days)

National $72,000 $56,693 $584,836 $3,883 135.34

(17.81 days)


(8.90 days)

Source: - 13/07/2023. All figures based on using the average of state/capital city values where applicable, else the national average is used. Annual income figures and product prices used for illustration purposes only. Hours required calculated based on the net annual income (per 2023-24 income tax rates plus Medicare levy) and 38 hours worked per week ie. 7.6 hour working day. Average income based on ABS Personal Income 2019-20, adjusted by the ABS Wage Price Index (Mar-2023), and rounded to the nearest $1,000. Home loan interest rate based on the average owner occupier variable rate on Canstar's database at Apr-22 with cash rate increases applied, available for a $500k, P&I, 80%LVR loan; excluding introductory and other special condition loans. Average loan size per ABS Lending Indicators (May, 2023).


Canstar’s Editor-at-Large and money expert, Effie Zahos, says:

“Borrowers paying off an average-sized loan on their own need to work about 135 hours or close to a full month to cover their mortgage repayments each month.

That means 82 per cent of their monthly working hours go towards their mortgage, which doesn’t leave much for other household bills and expenses."

Australians need to devote an exorbitant amount of their working hours to cover their household bills

According to Canstar's data, even an average household's monthly grocery bill of $659 requires single-income households to work for about 23 hours, which is equivalent to three whole days, to cover the cost.

However, if there are two incomes in the household, they can cut this down to around 11 hours, about one and a half days of work for each person in a month.

Zahos further said:

“It goes to show that it’s near impossible to service the average-sized loan in today’s climate with only one income.

The burden is lighter for households with two incomes with each person required to work close to 68 hours.

This is equivalent to 41 percent of each person’s working hours being used to cover monthly mortgage repayments.

Simply putting food on the table is a big pressure point for households with the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages increasing by 7.9 percent over the 12 months to May, according to the latest monthly Consumer Price Index indicator.

Covering the cost of the average monthly grocery bill requires three days of work for someone on a single income and a day and a half per person for those bringing in two incomes.

Throw in electricity bills, home and contents insurance and car insurance, and for someone on a single income there clearly isn’t enough working hours in the day to pay for their household bills.

They would fall 11.03 hours behind.

A dual income household will still have 76.82 hours each per month up their sleeve."

Tips to reduce the number of hours worked needed to cover basic living expenses:

1. Bolster your income

Increasing your income can help ease the pressure on your household budget.

Building a case for a pay rise is one way to do this.

Other options include looking for a new higher-paying job or making some extra cash using the sharing economy on platforms.

 2. Refinance your mortgage

Switching from an average existing customer interest rate of 6.98% to the lowest in the market at 5.39% on an average loan of $584,836 could save you $603 in monthly repayments and also spare you $216,969 in interest over the life of the loan.

Mortgage Payments

3. Reduce your food wastage

Ask AI for help to make the most of the ingredients you have on hand.

Use ChatGPT to come up with recipe recommendations.

4. Be conscious of your energy consumption

Look for ways to reduce your energy usage around the home.

Even simple things such as using cold water instead of hot when doing the laundry, hanging up clothes instead of using the dryer and having shorter showers can help.

Also, check to see if you’re eligible for any energy rebates or concessions.

Save Money

5. Switch to save

Staying loyal to your insurer or energy provider could be costing you.

According to Canstar, switching the average home and contents and car insurance policy, plus the electricity bill can potentially save as much as $2,138 in the first year.

About Brett Warren Brett Warren is National Director of Metropole Properties and uses his two decades of property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their wealth through strategic property advice.
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