Where are buyers winning price battle?

Nelson is one of two regions where affordability is worse than the 10-year average.
BRADEN FASTIER

Nelson is one of two regions where affordability is worse than the 10-year average.

Houses have become more affordable over the past year in many parts of the country - but not everyone has been so lucky.

Ratings agency Moody's has released a report on housing affordability in New Zealand.

It noted that while affordability in Auckland remained poor, higher incomes and low mortgage rates offset the increase in property prices in the city last year.

"Rising household incomes and record low interest rates have prevented a deterioration in housing affordability in New Zealand over the past year, including in Auckland," says Karen Burkhardt, a Moody's associate analyst.

READ MORE: Don't blame the Boomers for high house prices

But the the situation varied between different regions in New Zealand. In some areas, the increase in prices was too much for interest rates or wage rises to compensate for.

Housing affordability improved in the Canterbury, Gisborne/Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Northland, Southland and Waikato/Bay of Plenty regions over the year to December 2016.

But it deteriorated in the Otago, Wellington, Taranaki and Nelson/Marlborough regions over the year, because of rapid housing price increases and either declines or relatively small increases in household incomes.

In Auckland and Nelson/Marlborough, the proportion of monthly income needed to meet monthly mortgage repayments is higher than the 10-year average. In all other regions in New Zealand, housing affordability is better than the 10-year average for that region.  

In Auckland,  new home owners need 46.5 per cent of their monthly income to meet mortgage repayments, much higher than the 31.3 per cent average for New Zealand. The median house price was $840,000 in December, compared to $516,000 across the country.

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Moody's said Auckland was the most sensitive region in New Zealand to changes in housing prices and interest rates.

At the end of last year, 49.5 per cent of all mortgage loans included in New Zealand cover pools were on properties located in Auckland.

But Moody's said the risks posed by poor housing affordability were mitigated by the loan-to-value restrictions on home loans. That reduced banks' exposure to high-risk loans and provided a buffer in case of a drop in prices.

 

 

 - Stuff

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