GYMPIE couples will scrimp and save for more than three years to have a house deposit of 20 per cent.
Research released today shows how hard it is for first home buyers to break into our region's housing market.
The ninth annual Bankwest First Time Buyer Report reveals the deposit challenges of would-be home-owners across 421 local government areas.
It shows Gympie couples with the region's average combined income of $88,500 a year will spend 3.39 years saving for a house deposit or 2.83 years saving for a unit deposit.
The statewide house deposit wait is four years and the national average is 4.6 years.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland's latest report showed the annual median house price in the Gympie region in June was $277,000.
Property expert Garrick Small said lower wages and rising real estate prices meant it could be tougher for first home buyers to enter our market compared to those in Brisbane.
The CQU associate professor said local residents could look for lenders that offered a 10 per cent deposit option to get into their homes sooner.
This would require borrowers to take out mortgage insurance on top of other home buying costs.
Associate Professor Small said smaller deposits could have a positive impact on the local real estate market because buyers would have more money to spend on their new homes.
"In the short term, people would have a little bit of a burden lifted off them when they are buying and it would stimulate the markets," Prof Small said.
Homeloanexperts.com.au managing director Otto Dargan said cutting back on spending was the key to getting into a new home sooner.
"Saving a deposit isn't easy and if you can't cut back on your lifestyle then you'll be stuck renting for life," Mr Dargan said.
"Unfortunately, we often get calls from people in their 50s who have never bought a home and they likely never will.
"Taking action while you are young is critical to making sure that you don't end up in financial mess at retirement."
Bankwest's Donna Dalby said the extension of the $20,000 home owners grant for new homes would help families across our region break into the housing market sooner.
Check out how our region compares to other areas in our special interactive graphic online. - NewsRegional