Houses becoming more affordable

The West Coast still represents the country's most affordable housing. Pictured is Neil's Beach, in South Westland. Photo: Supplied
The West Coast still represents the country's most affordable housing. Pictured is Neil's Beach, in South Westland. Photo: Supplied
Despite the raft of reports around ever-spiralling house prices, it would seem homes are generally getting more affordable for average Kiwis.

The latest home affordability report from Massey University says declining house prices in many areas and falls in mortgage interest rates are putting more homes within the financial reach of prospective home buyers.

Report author Dr Arshad Javed, of Massey's School of Economics and Finance, said overall, at the national aggregate level, affordability improved by 2.6% in the most recent quarter.

This follows two previous quarters of modest improvements, he said.

However, the report, which covers from June to August 31, is a mixed bag at regional level.

''Half of the 16 regions have shown improved affordability over the quarter, while the other half have shown declines,'' Dr Javed said.

Most of this is being driven by house price fluctuations, including in Auckland, where the median house price declined by $40,000, resulting in an 8% improvement in affordability for the region.

However, an annual increase of $30,000 in the national median house price was partially offset by a 6.79% decrease in mortgage interest rates.

''This combined with a steady increase in wages of 3.7% for the year, resulting in a 5.2% improvement in affordability for the 12-month period,'' he said.

Twelve out of the 16 regions showed an increase in median house prices in the most recent quarter, which was partially offset by lower interest rates, while the impact of incomes varied across regions.

Interest rates went down by 0.11% to 4.67%, which is a return to the medium-term trend of interest rate reductions, while overall incomes increased slightly by 0.6%. The direction of change was evenly split across all 16 regions, Dr Javed said.

Despite a 4.7% decrease in median house price in the most recent quarter, Auckland remains the country's least affordable region.

Similarly, despite a 16.2% increase in median house price, the West Coast is the country's most affordable region.

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