The median income for Aussie borrowers fell by 3 per cent to $95,000 over the past year, with an expert warning homeowners face dire conditions heading into 2024 after meeting “unprecedented head winds” not seen for more than a decade. Data compiled in the Lendi Group’s 2023 Home Loan Report has revealed a worrying scenario for property owners amid stagnant incomes, higher mortgage repayments, increased barriers to entry and a stubborn lender loyalty tax. “Australians have met unprecedented head winds in their fight for the Aussie dream, an environment not seen for the past 12 years,” Lendi Groups chief and co-founder David Hyman said. “We don’t expect the challenging conditions of 2023 to vanish in 2024.” The housing report, compiled from data across Lendi, Aussie and Domain Home Loans from January to the end of November, revealed singles now represent 20 per cent of all home applications. Single borrowers accounted for every two in 10 loans but earnt a median yearly income of $109,000 – well above the average wage. In a surprising detail, the data also revealed the median income of borrowers dropped from $97,000 to $95,000 despite mortgage repayments continuing to rise. “This suggests you either need a dual income household or earn well above the Australian average wage to be able to afford a home loan, which locks out a considerable portion of the nation’s population,” Mr Hyman said. “The data tells of income stagnation coupled with rising costs, but it is all compounded by a loyalty tax to existing borrowers not making a lender switch.” The number of first-home buyers also decreased, with a 12 per cent fall in applications for loans across the cohort. The median age of single home loan applicants was 41 years old, while the median age of couples was 40. Mr Hyman said the data also found fewer Australians owned more of their own home, with the number of borrowers refinancing their home falling from 51 per cent to 45 per cent in 2023. “Seeing the amount of equity retreating in 2023 is disheartening,” he said. “We know equity is a powerful asset which not only provides homeowners a safety net and the ability to decrease mortgage payments but can be used to fund renovations and for parents, support their children to get their own foot into the housing market.” An earlier report by PropTrack found national property prices were likely to increase between 1 and 4 per cent next year following “resilient growth” over 2023. It found prices in Sydney were expected to grow between 2 and 5 per cent, albeit at a slower pace compared with this year. “Perth (+5-8 per cent), Adelaide (+4-7 per cent), and Brisbane (+3-6 per cent) are likely to lead home price growth across the country after consistently recording strong gains in 2023,” the report states.