Homes more affordable, except in Auckland

Last updated 09:46 09/10/2012
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PROPERTY MARKET: House prices are expected to keep rising in Auckland.

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Owning your own home has become more affordable thanks to rising wages and lower borrowing rates offsetting higher home prices - except if you live in Auckland.

The latest Massey University Home Affordability Report shows the national affordability index improved by 2.8 per cent on the three months ending August to its lowest level in 10 years.

That was due to a $6.25 increase in the average wage and further declines in monthly mortgage costs outstripping a $1000 rise in median home prices over the period.

The Manawatu/Wanganui region had the biggest jump in quarterly affordability, with a 9.4 per cent improvement, followed by Hawkes Bay and Waikato at 8.4 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively.

Wellington had a 1.4 per cent deterioration in affordability in the three months, and the Canterbury/Westland region chalked up a 0.3 per cent decline.

On an annual basis almost all regions saw affordability improve by 4.9 per cent versus 2.9 per cent 12-months ago.

Auckland was the single exception, with affordability decreasing 0.4 per cent compared to August last year.

"House prices in Auckland are increasing faster than other regions due to the imbalance of new supply to meet demand from the increasingly population," said Bob Hargreaves, director of Massey's Real Estate Analysis Unit.

"In the short run, while interest rates stay low and builders aren't building, house prices will continue to rise in Auckland."

Floating mortgage rates from most major banks are currently about 5.75 per cent and two-year fixed rates start at about 5.25 per cent.

Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Otago had the biggest year-on-year improvements in affordability, both at 12.8 per cent, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui at 11.1 per cent.

Canterbury/Westland and Wellington had annual improvements of 2.3 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

Only the Central Otago/Lakes district beat Auckland in the least affordable housing stakes, with an index ranking of 134.6 per cent versus the national average, although affordability had been improving of late. Auckland scored 129 per cent.

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