According to the OECD, Australian households remain heavily geared with a high ratio of household debt to disposable income(183.7%), but this has declined from the pre-GFC level of 186.4%. In 2000, this ratio was 124%. The OECD average was 98%. See story here.
Many Australians are prepared to borrow heavily to buy a residence, believing that "rent money is dead money". But that is not always the situation. Buying a house or apartment for the short term is often a bad decision. And if you have to move with your job, as some Qantas engineers found out recently, owning a house can be a liability.