Central Otago Lakes district least affordable for housing

Soaring house prices have made Central Otago Lakes district 81 percent less affordable than the rest of the country.

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

That‘s a record for Massey University‘s Home Affordability Index which has been running for 20 years.

The latest index, which takes into account the cost of borrowing as well as house prices and wage levels, showed homes in most regions have become more affordable in the last three months as median house prices fell.

But in Northland they rose by $25,000, nearly $30,000 in Hawke‘s Bay and $53,500 in Central Otago Lakes.

House prices in Central Otago Lakes are now more than 15 times annual wages, compared with prices in Auckland, Thames and Coromandel at 13 times wages, according to the index.

Auckland region, including Thames and Coromandel is 53 percent less affordable than the rest of the country.

The most affordable regions are Southland, Manawatū/Whanganui, Taranaki and Otago.

While affordability improved nationally in the last quarter by 3.4 percent, for the 12 months it declined for all regions by 4.4 percent, the report said.

“It is interesting to note that, despite a resurgence in house prices last quarter for many regions, this quarter sees a

fall for some and a rise for others.”

Affordability concerns this quarter were in the regions that continued to buck the improving national trend.

“It is apparent therefore that for New Zealand home affordability is still a national and regional problem in the short and medium term, especially for those wage earners wishing to purchase a home on the market using a mortgage,” the report stated.