The question of housing affordability is an issue affecting millions of people globally but in Australia housing affordability is a relatively recent concern. Home ownership is said to be a fundamental human right. Home ownership in Australia has historically been the hallmark of the nationís reputation as a `fair-goí society for all. The importance of home ownership in Australia goes beyond the need to satisfy the essential needs of shelter security and privacy. Home ownership in Australia has long been viewed as a vehicle for prosperity and a symbol of success. Until recently most working Australians could realistically aspire to home ownership. The opportunity of home ownership is directly linked to housing affordability. The concept of housing affordability is relative and refers to the capacity to enter the housing market; that is, cost and availability. The cost of housing relates to the prosperity of the community, the functioning of the economy, location choices relating to employment opportunities, and transportation issues. Housing also has great significance in the national economy, with its influence on investment levels, interest rates, building activity and employment. Changing economic conditions have increased awareness of the issue of housing affordability both in Australia and globally. This paper addresses the questions; (a) what are the causes of, and (b) what is the extent of the housing affordability problem in Australia? The outcomes of this desk top research study identify the perceived causes and the extent of the problem and whether it is worsening over time.