House prices in our major urban centres are rising faster than household incomes; Auckland in crisis; but still some cities where the median multiple is below three

House prices in our major urban centres are rising faster than household incomes; Auckland in crisis; but still some cities where the median multiple is below three
Auckland's affordability is at its worst level ever.

By David Chaston

House prices are rising again. At the same time, concerns about "affordability" are also rising.

Today, Demographia has released its annual international study comparing 337 urban markets, and highlighting that most of New Zealand's major urban markets are significantly unaffordable. (see links below).

Housing affordability has now crossed over to being a full political issue. Parties are issuing policy statements, and some have the issue as their main talking point. Newspapers run front page stories about it because it drives sales.

Clearly people are concerned - especially first-home buyers and families who feel they need to live within a sensible commuting distance from their work. In some of our major urban centres, this is now pretty tough.

Solutions proposed fall into two types: demand-focussed or supply-focussed.

Demand-focussed 'solutions' aim to change the ability of potential home-buyers to afford what is available, to try and help them "get on the property ladder".

Among solutions suggested include making available easier borrowing terms, lower deposits, low or concessional interest rates. Housing NZ's Welcome Home Loan program is an example. Being able to use some of your KiwiSaver as part of a first home house deposit is another. Some people often think that 'intensification' means lower house prices because they think multiple units on a standard block of land lowers the land costs.

Supply-focussed 'solutions' aim to address the fact that rising demand is not being met with rising supply and consequently 'price' becomes the market way to ration the demand.

Reversing these pressures requires many actions that result in building enough houses to meet demand requirements, or slightly more so that the pressure on prices abates or reverses. Intensification can play a part in this, but regulation inhibits any meaningful chance that 'houses' will be built - more likely they will be flats, apartments, and other shared-living dwellings or communities.

The risk of building 'shoebox ghettos' rises when the goal is affordability without a significant release of land supply.

How to define affordability?

But how should we define affordability?

The main way is to relate dwelling prices to incomes.

The house-price-to-income multiple is a simplified, yet internationally recognised measure of housing affordability. It is covered in Agenda 21, Chapter 7 of the United Nations Framework and it is defined as the ratio between median house price and median annual household income, otherwise known as the median multiple. The World Bank also says this ratio is "possibly the most important summary measure of housing market performance, indicating not only the degree to which housing is affordable by the population, but also the presence of market distortions".

Housing is considered "affordable" when it can be purchased for less than three times annual household incomes. It is "moderately unaffordable" at between three and four times household incomes, is "seriously unaffordable" between four and five times household incomes, and "severely unaffordable" above five times annual household incomes.

Unfortunately for us, we live in a region where prices have skyrocketed due to the regulatory strangling of new house building. Sydney is familiar to many New Zealanders; it is 'local', 'real' and one of the world's most expensive cities in which to buy a home. We forget how much of an outlier Sydney and Melbourne are. And Auckland has joined that outlier club.

Based on our monitoring of prices and household incomes of the main house-buying demographic (30-35 year olds), there are now large parts of the residential belt in central Auckland where the median multiple is well over seven times, far above "severely unaffordable". Auckland's North Shore at almost at seven times, in Manukau its is rising in a worrying trend and has just touched six times, and out west in the Waitakere region of the city it is 5.5 times. All these are at record highs (that is record unaffordability) since we started monitoring median multiples in late 2001.

'Severely unaffordable'

Nationally, we are now back over five times and "severely unaffordable". The national record however was back in April 2007 and we are quickly getting back to that pressure.

In Christchurch, it is back up to 5.3 times, and close to its record high which was reached in 2007.

In Wellington City and in Porirua it is at a similar level of 5.3; it is about 4.5 on the Kapiti Coast, 4.2 in Lower Hutt and about four in Upper Hutt. In all these places it is "seriously unaffordable" to buy a house by international standards.

The places in New Zealand that are "affordable" and where you can find one for three times household income or less include Rotorua, Wanganui, and Invercargill.

Places with a median multiple between 3x and 4x include Whangarei, Gisborne, Hastings, Palmerston North, Timaru and Dunedin.

Caveat

This analysis uses the international standards, and there is one caveat that is worth mentioning. There have been a series of tax cuts in New Zealand designed to boost take-home pay. The effect of tax cuts are not accounted for in the "median multiple" calculation because under that standard it is "gross household income" that is related to house prices. This is a flaw in the median multiple approach. Our Roost Home Loan Affordability series overcomes that problem by focussing on individual and household "take home pay" (ie: after-tax income). The downside of the Roost home loan affordability measure is that it is not internationally comparable.

That parts of the New Zealand housing markets are under stress is unarguable and obvious for a growing number of buyers and families that need somewhere decent to live within reasonable distance from their employment.

Unfortunately, the situation has been developing since late 2002 - more than a decade - when the national median multiple was below 3.5 times. We are inured to the corrosive effects of unaffordable housing. If Auckland's median multiple fell from its present 7x to closer to 6x some official would declare victory. But it needs to return to the threes before a sustainable victory is claimed. That will require major actions mostly at the local level by local authority and city officials.

In Auckland where the severest issues are, little but platitudes are being expressed. There is certainly zero commitment to take meaningful action. Large landbankers help finance mayoral campaigns and high property values are required to justify rates for urban train ambitions. Besides, most politicians believe that they would pay with their jobs if the value of voters' "investment" in their houses fell.

It may be too much to expect that after a decade of inaction that has caused the crisis, there would be a sudden epiphany.

Tax-free capital gains for those that have them are a powerful drug.

Pity our kids.

Updated 21 Jan 2013
Median
Median
 
----------------Median multiple----------------
(see Notes here)
Population
House price
H'hold Income
Demographia
Dec-12
Nov-12
Oct-12
Dec-11
Dec-10
 
Jan-13E
Dec-12
Dec-12
Sep-12          
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NZ total
4,453,000
$389,000
$78,259 5.3
4.97
4.90
4.87
4.67
4.74
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Whangarei District
80,500
$267,000
$75,582  
3.53
3.46
3.46
3.54
3.83
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Auckland metro
1,486,000
$535,000
$83,261 6.7
6.43
6.49
6.38
5.99
5.75
- North Shore
225,800
$614,360
$88,262  
6.96
7.50
7.35
7.05
6.80
- Waitakere
204,500
$450,851
$81,738  
5.52
5.45
5.42
5.16
4.80
- Central
444,100
$626,385
$86,088  
7.28
7.44
7.06
6.64
6.47
- Manukau
368,500
$492,751
$77,606  
6.03
5.79
5.60
5.51
5.55
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Hamilton City
145,600
$337,500
$77,753 4.7
4.34
4.30
4.36
4.47
4.41
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Tauranga City
115,700
$349,000
$75,941 5.9
4.60
4.52
4.40
4.28
5.24
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Rotorua District
68,900
$210,000
$77,526  
2.71
2.80
3.10
3.23
2.98
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Gisborne District
46,600
$227,250
$70,052  
3.24
3.62
3.36
3.31
3.34
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Hastings District
75,500
$312,500
$71,146 4.5
4.39
4.06
4.37
4.26
4.64
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Napier City
57,600
$249,000
$70,926 4.5
3.51
4.04
3.12
4.03
4.29
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
New Plymouth District
73,800
$312,000
$71,821  
4.34
4.32
4.52
4.21
4.71
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Wanganui District
43,500
$189,500
$68,457  
2.77
2.44
2.71
2.54
2.66
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Palmerston North City
82,100
$265,500
$76,232 4.4
3.48
3.66
3.74
3.65
3.53
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Wellington metro
487,700
$407,500
$85,914 5.4
4.74
4.72
4.70
4.64
4.91
- Kapiti Coast District
48,900
$325,000
$75,175  
4.32
4.66
4.38
4.76
4.91
- Porirua City
52,700
$437,263
$82,263  
5.32
4.60
4.39
4.51
5.26
- Upper Hutt City
41,500
$334,000
$83,551  
4.00
4.17
4.42
4.38
3.91
- Lower Hutt City
103,000
$356,000
$84,410  
4.22
4.15
4.28
4.32
4.65
- Wellington City
200,100
$501,804
$95,579  
5.25
5.38
5.33
5.29
5.55
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Nelson City
46,200
$359,000
$72,160  
4.98
4.65
4.93
4.47
4.77
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Christchurch City
367,700
$398,528
$75,541  
5.28
4.98
4.94
4.86
4.98
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Timaru District
44,700
$250,500
$70,575  
3.55
3.39
3.22
3.63
3.22
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Dunedin City
126,000
$255,500
$67,077 5.1
3.81
4.10
3.75
3.89
3.89
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Queenstown-Lakes District
28,700
$568,000
$72,226  
7.86
6.60
7.17
8.01
6.20
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Invercargill City
53,000
$170,000
$69,535  
2.44
3.20
2.89
2.92
2.70

Today's release of the Demographia survey allows readers to compare data for 337 international metropolitan areas.

There is a difference between the interest.co.nz data and the Demographia data, but they are largely comparable.

Firstly, the Demographia New Zealand  data is for September 2012 and uses the last census data and factors increases in from then. Unfortunately the last census in New Zealand was in 2006.

Secondly, Demographia uses median household income, a very wide definition that includes a mix of incomes from wages, benefits, dividends, interest, self-employed income, and other gains. It also includes all household age groups.

The interest.co.nz data specifically targets the main house-buying age group, 30-34 year olds.

You can read the 9th annual Demographia Report for September 2012 here »

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

111 Comments

The only thing that will stop this disaster getting a whole lot worse is an immediate halt to immigration, at least untill we can sort out the mess.

agreed
 
regards

Are you going to stop all the kiwis returning from Perth/mining towns also?

The definition of emmigration involves the movement of people to a country other than the one in which they were born.  Therefore does not apply.  Figures quoted in this site  stated that we gained (in 10 years I think) 800,000 immigrants and lost 700,000 presumably mostly to Australia.  Regarless of the conditions in Australia I think that we will be in a net loss position for a long time, besides which the price of their minerial exports are rising very strongly and their ecconomy is expected to grow 3% this year.  It is still going to be a strong ecconomy and a net magnet for our young people for a long time.

Given that the last boom early 2000's was driven in large part by returning expats post 9/11,
I would have thought that those numbers were quite important.
The migration cycle has now turned and as Fat Tony says - 'if the housing market has been hot in 2012 with flat inflows - how will it perform with increasing inbound migration'
 

Well isn't that all the more reason to suspend inbound migration because as the article points out we already have a very serious problem.

Are you serious? Look at the stat.. we don't have an influx of immigration..  stop immgration and we'll be North Korea of the South Pacific !
Quote from BNZ newsletter "There was a net gain to New Zealand’s population from permanent and long term migration in November of 1,697 compared with a gain of 945 a year ago. That means the annual net flow is now a loss of just 1,567 compared with 2,319 in October and a peak of 4,118 in August. The average flow for the past ten years has
been a gain of exactly 13,000 and the ten years before that 4,500 and the ten years before that a loss of 6,200"
 

Yep; dead serious.
Korea; well hardly an example of anything, a lone wolf state at odds with the whole world.  In any event it's population drop is not particularly significant at 0.022% for the 18 years to 2009.  There are about 26 other countries that have negative population growth rates (average 0.3% per year) and only one, Micronesia, has a negative GNP growth rate per head.  The rest generally are notable in having strongly growing ecconomies.  On average their average GNP growth rate per head is 22.23%.  They include countries like Germany, Russia, Japan, Poland, Italy, Monaco, Czeck Republic, South Africa.  If you chart their ecconomic performance, you find that the faster their population declines, the higher GNP growth rate per head grows.  So generally speaking I think that a halt in inward emmigration would not hurt the ecconomy.  It may hurt the property speculators, but in my view they have had it far to good for far too long.

Ok interesting facts; the three places that I've been to few weeks back; Germany, Italy, France.. the locals were complaining about the influx of asian immigrant.. incl Milan is having another China town.. 

Yes everybody seems to be complaining about that.  Desipe their one child family policy and emmigration into just about every corner of the world they are maintaining a population growth rate of 0.49% compared to our 0.9%.  I guess that their population is so large that they   can afford to loose a few.  Whether we like it or not, our place in the world is being restructured to one where we predominantely provide food and tourisim, and our industrial capacity is migrating overseas.  We do not need that many people for this and efforts to force feed the population number is going nowhere because there is simply not the ecconomic capacity to support more people, hence unemployement, low wages, general depravation etc.  The reaction is for people to move overseas to better situations and neutralise the immigration.  Automation and hopefullly higher productivity in future mean that we may have trouble keeping employment levels where they are.  Our only hope is to compedatively produce a lot more, smarter and better products (what ever they may be) with our current population.

Chairman Mao

quoting statistics
Something doesn't add up
Must be a lot of illegals coming in by canoe
Between 2001 and 2011 total NZ population increased by 668,000
Natural increase (Births-Deaths) = 300,000
Immigration 370,000 or 37,000 per year
Where did they spring from?

Interesting thing is of course they have paid no NZ tax but when they come back they will expect WINZ. 
regards

Ihaven't seen anyone yet put a gun to a persons head and force them to buy a house.
Don't buy and prices will come down .

So affordability is a Wellinton/Auckland issue.  Why dont the regions offer incentives to pull businesses out of these centres, no recource costs,  5 years rates free etc.  The government should help in this effort.  Up here in Kerikeri where we are still struggling we have lost two business opportunities in the last couple of years,  one was a large hotel next to out events centre (which happens to be the best north of Auckland),  the owner gave up because of all the fees being thown at him by the FNDC and the other went bust after paying 1m in resouce fees.

Definitely worth reading the intro to the Demographia survey, by Hon. Bill English.
 
The greater question is, however, whether an electorate consisting of:
1 - Vampire Squid afficianados, who are shall we say disinclined to view any wind-back of current prices (and hence fee and interest revenue streams) as a Good Thang
 
2 - land-bankers who depend on the unearned CG on the rural-urban multiple, for their financial future
 
3 - beneficiaries of all stripes (from clueless 15 year old to grumpy old 92 year olds who show every sign of living to 100) who simply vote for the current More Goodies Party and who tend to be indifferent to the housing hoo-ha 'cos they can't afford it or are out of the game anyway.
 
4 - middle income folk with children and hence with WFF who see the CGT-free CG as one ofr their key paths to retirement, and who will therefore vote for the keep-WFF Party, and against anything that will decrease the value of their sole property investment.
 
will let any of this happen.
 
Because the ways out of the mess (recounted for your benefit here) will have the following effects:
- crash the value of undeveloped urban and rural land near a MUL (affects #1 and 2)
- decrease Local Gumnut employment (there's an amazing number of hangers-on to the Social and Cultural Well-beings - affects #4)
- decrease prices across housing materials categories (affects #4)
- decrease the lock that guilds, OSH, petty regulators have on building trades (#4, again)
- affect the sensibilities of the urban neighorhoods which may have to accept smaller, cheaper, faster, prefabbed houses in their midst (affects #1,2,3,4 - ye'd be surprised how many #3's have as a minor hobby the making of submissions to notified consents and plan changes...)
 
Now, if the required changes were accompanied by an alternative vote-type electroal tightening, yer might just have a political chance to make most of this happen.
 
But that's another snowball/furnance interface deal.....

In fact why not add the actual quote:
"But an extremely important thing to note however is this. Back in 2003 the market in Auckland was to a
substantial degree being driven by a strong net migration inflow which for the country as a whole amounted
to 35,000. This time around however the net flow was a loss of 1,567 in the year to November (latest data).
More than that, this latest net loss was better than 3,653 six months earlier and the trend is toward the
positive. Meaning – as we have noted here previously, if this is what the Auckland market looks like with a
net nationwide population loss, imagine what will happen when the net flows turn positive as we expect they
will this year. Hence the chances are high that over 2013 Auckland house prices will gain by more than they
did over 2012."

*wait for the bleating 'he has an axe to grind blah blah yawn'*

But you do lol its a fact, the more you talk up property the more money you think you will make by inflating the market!

Thats from Tony Alexander - I was referring to his axe, not mine!

Exclude Auckland and yes the rest of NZ is perhaps a bit overpriced - but I think the days of a median multiple of 3 have pretty much disappeared. 
I don't think the median multiples are good in most of the larger cities in the world.  Have a look at the median multiples in Vancouver, Sydney, London, New York, Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo, etc.  Ok, Auckland isn't quite in the league of these cities, but then then 'median house' in most of those cities is probably a small apartment, whereas in Auckland it is probably on 600m2 of land.

Auckland has approx 1 million people. This puts it in the league of "Vancouver, Sydney, London, New York, Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo".......???????
Not to mention whether a city is what is known as a "global" city or not.
Come ON. NZ has no excuse to "play a game of pretend we're London", because we can get our house prices up there too..........Let's look at cities around the world with about 1 million people and see who we compare to, and who we want to be like. 
Let's also get real about which ones have been there for centuries already, what kind of economy they are part of, what is the primary source of employment, etc. NZ-ers like to have warm fuzzy ideas that are economy's backbone is farming; then we like to pretend our cities are up there with Tokyo and New York?
Come ON. We should have the cheapest housing in the world. Let's compare Auckland to a city of around 1 million population in a heavily-rural State in the USA. 

Try Charlotte, NC. Or Kansas City.Or Louisville.Or Memphis. Or Nashville. Or Raleigh, NC. Or Salt Lake City. 
Median multiples around 3 in all of those. 

And Phil, don't forget that many of the big international cities were affordable until a decade or two when they implemented "growth management" policies.  It annoys me when people say "expecting affordable house prices in big cities is unrealistic" without mentioning that this is largely due to political decisions.

Nevermind those crazy southern redneck cities, look to Chicago. 4th highest GDP of any citiy in the world, 9.5m people in its metropolitan area and a median house price of $220,000 - and that is in NZ dollars. Makes it about the same price for housing as Gisborne.

Whatever....
Only Labour seems to be interested in making this a political issue and willing to put on the table some proposals (whether it will be successful is unknown). At least this issue is now becoming current. 
 
Let's vote Labour the next round and see if they can succeed. Building 10000 units per year at $300,000 or less is a big call. Afterall what have we got to lose ???
 
Better than National mantra "the market will solve this issue"....Yeah right !!!

Voting for the party that brought us WFF, and the Welcome Home (otherwise known in the trade as the Minimum Price support Scheme) debacle???
 
Appreciate the humour.

the greens have also said they will block non-residents buying property here. I'm voting for them. 

T'other side is that we Do seem to be happy enough taking their's and others furreners dosh to the tune of a billion a month in loans.
 
What does yer favourite watermelon have to say about the borrowings issue?
 
Or is there an embarrassed silence?
 
Glass houses, stones - gosh, the real world is soooo difficult.

Thanks for that piece of partisan hackery. They caused a whole lot of the problem in the first place in the 2000's, but yeah lets place bets on Shearer throwing a few mango skins to the peasants.

David, on the table NZ median household income is given as $78,529 but Stats NZ give it as $67,600 ($1304/week including Govt. transfers WFF etc) Why the difference.
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/Income/NZIncom...
See excel table #9

Firstly, that StatsNZ data is at June 2012, ours (via LEEDS) is for Dec-12.
Secondly, that StatsNZ data is for all household age groups, ours is targeted at 30-34 year olds. (That is StatsNZ data is a median = middle point, of a 15 year old living alone in a flat all the way through to an aged couple living in their house. What is the mid point there? No-one knows.)
Thirdly, the $1,304 is a mash of all types of income, and it will be a very rare thing for any houshold to have beneficiary income, plus dividends, plus interest, wages, self-employed earnings, share of maori incorporation earnings, partnership income, salaries, etc. etc. 
We focus on the more realistic fact that a household in the prime of their housebuying (for which affordability is a key issue) is most likely to be a couple with a young child <5. And they are not likely to be earning much more than wages or a salary. That is what the LEEDS series measures best; it is the data from the IRD's PAYE database, and unlike the StatsNZ quarterly income survey, it can be accessed by city, by gender, by age all at once. 
I think you will find that 30-34's earn better than the overall median.
Even if we wanted to, we could not get the StatsNZ income survey by TLA, or even within TLA like Auckland Council. Only LEEDS gives us that.
And finally, we track this data monthly. The StatsNZ survey is quarterly and comes out another three months after the end of that quarter. We may miss some early shifts if we were only doing it using that data.

Bernard's on Radio National with Jim Mora this afternoon , David .....
 
..... if you're having trouble sleeping between 4 and 5 p.m. ...... . tune in ....

hmmmm - @ OCR 2.5% that represents capital demands of $3,141,166.00 and $2,704,000.00 respectively.

Quite a lucid description of the situation by English - for a politican - in my view.  There is a very good if still emerging consensus on unresponsive supply however very little is being done to address it.  This should be a politically easy and immediate goal to address.  The cottage building industry observation is also a good one and all the major parties should try to pass legislation promoting consolidation and economies of scale.
 
I still think commentators underestimate the impact of the leaky home crisis - which represents 5% of the housing stock - and its tremendous impact on prices.  I'm all for the RBNZ taking its thumb out and implementing macroprudential controls such as LTV ratios and capital gains on residential property investors.
 
For fairness I do think some of the commentary in the report and the article above regarding median price/income multiples historically is a bit misleading.  In the early 90's interest rates were as high as 16% which prevented borrowing and thus capped prices.  Even though house prices and thus aggregate household borrowing (as multiples of income) are far higher than in the 90's the total debt servicing cost is nearly the same at about 9% now relative to 8% then.  House prices and affordability are more a function of disposable servicing %'s than arbitrary multiples of income - which I always point out but no one here seems to care.
 
 

Keyser Soze: "always points out but no one here seems to care"
 
Dunno
Suspect some people here do care.
Suspect a lot more people in the wider community also care.
For some reason the bureaucracy seems incapable of coming to the party to fix a problem it helped create.
 
do you ever wonder if the bureaucracy visits here for clues or inspiration?

Yes, they indeed do.

Keyser Soze:  Leaky Homes Crisis - represents 5% of the housing stock - and its tremendous impact on prices.
 
It can be assumed the stock of Leaky Homes are (a) not selling (b) unsaleable (c) not on the market (d) occupying valuable prime real-estate
 
I am on the record here recently as stating that instead of adopting the Labour Party 100,000 new homes over 10 years (requiring new land on the outskirts of the main centres), the government if it was smart, could release those 80,000 leaky homes onto the market by helping to fix them pronto.
 
If it had been really smart it would have negotiated (from a position of strength) with the owners to guarantee either their original cost plus inflation or a price mid-point between original cost and current market prices, repair the house, then sell it on the open market. On sale the owner gets the guaranteed price, and the government keeps anything above the guaranteed price.

Seems like a zero sum game because most of the leakers are currently inhabited arent they?
So no new stock is really added to the market by fixing them.

YES and NO
 
If you put an "embargo or freeze" on 10% of all properties in Auckland (for whatever hypothetical reason ie cant be sold) what do you think would happen to the prices of the remaining 90%

It's definetely a NO - it dramatically increases house prices for the rest of us.  Leaky homes DONT sell by and large - sure the odd one days, but they are nearly impossible to see like a normal house.  The impact of that is to suck 5% of supply away of the housing stock.  Supply and demand - less supply, in the face of constant demand (even though demand is increasing) would result in higher prices.  Lower supply in the face of increasing demand compounds into higher prices.

An even better example would be the gymnastics the Wellington commercial property market is going through where: up until the Christchurch earthquakes everything was swimming along. Then councils got their A into G and started notifying owners of buildings that required additional strengthening to bring them up to compliance standards. While tennants and or owners didnt necessarily vacate, and these building are still being occupied, suddenly there was a differentiation in valuations and or asking prices for those buildings that weren't compliant and those that were. Yep, perfect example. Try and sell a building that cost $2 million, now requiring a million or two spent on it, or try and rent it out if it's vacant. See the diff. Compliant ones now command a nice wind-fall premium. Same number of buildings, and occupants.

Or here is a totally radical idea, let those homes come to market for what they are worth. End all speculation or expectation of bailout, because that is what you are asking for.

Good point regarding the use of average income as the sole measure of affordability.  Not only does it ignore interest rates but it ignores, inheritances, capital gains on previous properties, hand-outs from Mum and Dad, expats returning with pockets full of mining dollars and any other reason that people don't buy houses from scratch.  Most people buying your average Auckland $535k house are not borrowing anything like $535k. 
 
If anything leaky homes are helping the afforadability in Auckland.  A leaky home will sell, just with a hefty discount, these are then fixed by the new owners and in many cases then worth more than the total spend on them. 
 
The solution in Auckland lies on the supply side, any changes to the demand side (higher interest rates, more taxes, etc) will simply make things less affordable.  First home buyers expectations also need to change, if you have $350k to spend you have to accept that all you'll get is a apartment, flat or terraced house. 
 
I recognise a number of posters on this article; most of you as little as a year ago were harping on about how much Auckland prices are set to fall.  Oh how you've changed your tune. 

Great, so we don't need to worry about employment, exports, productivity or income levels. Rising house prices regardless of other economic factors, are a good thing, and sustainable indefinitely. 
The higher they go, the bigger the crash when it comes. That is all I'll say. I won't try and predict the timing or the level the prices might go to. 

 Keyser Söze:
Here is something I keep pointing out and no-one seems to care.
Back when interest rates were high and house prices were lower relative to incomes, inflation was very high. Rising incomes, to keep pace with inflation, rapidly eroded the size of a mortgage relative to your income.
And eventually, inflation came down and so did interest rates - so the people from this era refinanced at low interest rates and paid their by-now-piddly mortgage off in no time.
No such luck is going to come the way of the abused generation who pays high prices with the "advantage" of low interest rates. In any case, the price is the main determinor of the total repaid; a high price at a low interest rate is more of a burden than a low price at a high interest rate, even without taking into account the historical reality about inflation and the "inflating away of debt".

Monday 21 January
New Zealand’s Government is expecting another house price boom but won’t be intervening with measures such as rent control or public housing schemes, Finance Minister Bill English says.
http://www.landlords.co.nz/read-article.php?article_id=4656

And why should he do anything about it?
After all, he is only the Finance Minister of New Zealand - someone else will probably sort it out.

Well that's sorted - thankfully we can all relex and have a cuppa tea while part of the US Federal Reserve's USD 85 billion a month money pumping finds it way to NZ via Aussie bank borrowing @ 0.25% + a small risk premium.
 
Not that I dare risk starting the barbecue because all the fireman and nurses live beyond the city perimeter and will be unable to afford the combination housing/transport costs once the next wave of inner city buyers force the city boundary beyond it's current limits.

Go SK !
Keep winding up the general populace ....goodonya !
I want Auckland house prices to "shoot the moon" !!
Then I can sell and take that money to another market.....where there is an actual good true rate of return...not some piddly 4% gross amount that "astute" investooors only seem to realise in this market and then crow on how great the return is......only coz they are s*** scared that something may blindside them on a boring Tuesday afternoon and throw their "calculated" figures out  ........   
  
 

$ 170 000 for a median house in Invercargill !!!
 
........ crikey Dick & Jane you lot , where else can you get a bargain like that , $ 170 000 , and they throw in a fortune teller ( the median ) free , and you get the benefit of Tim Shadbolt's infinite glow and wisdom ...... plus you can have as much cheap lignite as you can burn ....
 
... Bargain City !!!
 
They seem to have a thriving movie industry too , 'cos last time I went to Invercargill I think  they were making a sequel to Avatar ...... must've been the case , because everyone in the whole town was blue ......

and thats with Rio Tinto calling our bluff and keeping the ol smelta going -  if that is shut it will be $120k houses if you are lucky. Could the govt pay some Aucklanders to go and live there ?     Len could promise them a high speed rail link to Queenstown,say a modest  $ 24 Billion should do it

David, are you suggesting in your Home Loan Affordablity series that the REINZ median monthly sale accurately represents the market value of NZ's median dwelling? 

Good stuff - NZ beats its much larger neighbour again!

We have more suicides as well.... go NZ! (bigger/more doesn't always equal better)

I saw this post on Australian Property Forum. Thought it was interesting and wondered if Hugh could comment?
----- QUOTE -----
This survey says Sydney median price is $643K and Sydney gross household income is $77K, giving a median multiple of 8.3.

The $643K figure is the ABS figure for freestanding houses only (doesn't include units, semis, townhouses or terraces).

Sydney median dwelling price is really $580K when you include units, semis, townhouses and terraces.

The ABS also says Sydney household income is $88K, not $77K.

So Sydney's correct median multiple is really 580/88 = 6.6, not the 8.3 claimed by Demographia.

Most of Demographia's figures are equally shoddy.
----- END OF QUOTE -----

Sydney's median household income was $1447 per week ($75,244) as at the 2011 Census:

http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/1GSYD?opendocument&navpos=220
The notes to the Demographia Report indicate that census data is used, with adjustments for likely changes since the last census.
One likely explanation for differences between data providers, is that one might be using a "greater" urban area and the other might be using the central municipality that goes by the name of the city. Of course income is usually higher here - and so are "housing" prices. 
 

Take Cannibal Creek (part of Porirua), you can buy an ex state house with maasive section  for well under 200K..
http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential-property-for-sale/auction-...
http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential-property-for-sale/auction-...

Incredulous foreigners comment on our housing crisis,
 
http://qz.com/45643/new-zealand-has-0-5-people-per-square-kilometer-and-...
 
Hong Kong is the world’s costliest property market, according to Demographia. That is understandable, as Hong Kong is tiny and crowded.
But New Zealand has more sheep and cows than people, and an enormous amount of uninhabited land. According to government data, the land where Lord of the Rings was filmed to take advantage of its stunning, empty landscape, has an average 0.5 people per square kilometer. Which means every Kiwi, on average, has an area bigger than Vatican City to themselves. Nor is the Kiwi economy booming. GDP inched up 0.2% in the three months to last September, compared to the same time last year.

Don't worry pdk will be along shortly to advise on how much of a land shortage we have, direct from his sprawling bunker-estate in the heart of the Kilmog.

When you reply with emotion and political blinkers then really you dont present much of an argument why what you want is the best thing to do, In fact less than zero, because past experience has shown there is no reason, logic or maths to justify such previous positions.  Hence the sensible thing is to examine the opposite of what you want as much as what you want....the former it seems tends to be the right answer.......funny that.
regards
 
 

The serious art of mis-information. How it's propagated. The claim is Hobbitsville has a population of ½ person per sq km (km2) presumably when all the hobbits are away on holiday. Thus, within the space of a few of words, it morphs into NZ being presented as a wilderness wonderland with a population density accross the whole country of ½ person per sq km (km2) including un-inhabitable areas of the Southern Alps and the high country etc etc .. so, without challenge, and by repeated telling, it becomes true. yeah. right.

This was a very good article - thanks David Chaston.

The so called affordability way will just pork the market again and again and just like other countries it doesnt work long term, even medium.  There is more than enough real world data eg oz first time buyers handout to show that doesnt work. 
Gheto's well a case of expectations in there...or its reverse, so really if you ignore other things the way to stop prices rising is too release large sections of land at its agricultural price....but it has to be very very cheap....literally a few thou and that can be done.....Of course doing taht causes even more problems....
regards

This affordibilty thing is a load of old crock.
The fact is that Aucklanders and others in main centres are happily buying and selling their homes, and can obviously afford to do so, shows that there is no real stress at all.
The streets are not full of homeless people who can't afford to buy. There are no riots or queues of homeless around every street corner.
Who devised the stress test in any event?. Some do gooder at the United Nations no doubt,
with nothing to do after sharpening all the pencils and shuffling the same forms for the umpteenth time .
The stress, if it exists at all, falls only on the relatively small number of first home buyers and that's an area that can be  addressed with targeted assistance.
All the  other twaddle about Capital Gains tax, land tax, cutting bureauracy, is just that.
Help first home buyers with a one time leg up, and leave the rest well alone.
 

Tend to agree - obviously there must be a lot of people earning megabucks in Auckand to be able to afford the houses for sale in the city because anecdotal evidence we are hearing in the rest of NZ is Aucklanders put their house on the market on Friday - sold by Sunday for lots of $$.  So are the people who can afford these homes in Auckland the 1% and, if so, what happens to the 99%??  What do I tell my grandchildren to study so they can join a workforce that will sustain them in their adulthood with the kiwi dream of a partner, a good job, children, and a house.  Look to the future is my dream of where this country is heading for the sake of the younger generation. Not this fixation with the housing market in Auckland.  Find me a LEADER!

Nobody up here is earning megabucks.... but the banks are back to loaning 100% at 5% interest... They'll allow me to buy a million dollar plus house, and I'm a single earner! The place is awash with money, but almost all of it belongs to the banks.
 
House of cards.

Aucklanders are not doing well.  Used to live there and visit often from the far south so I am reasonably well connected.  I know a wide range of people there.  My observation is (1) incomes are much the same. (2)  Astronomical housing costs suck every bit of cash out of the Aucklanders.   Result.  People living in a house worth close to a million dollars avoiding going out for coffee because they just don't have the disposable.   

Ah, so in one corner we have someone who wants constrained supply, thus higher prices of the existing stock. Reason? No doubt so he can feel 'richer'.
 
In the other corner we have the screaming one and the mantra-chanter. They want no regulation, endless 'supply' of land. Presumably that land isn't doing anything now. It wouldn't be feeding folk in cities, of course. No, no, silly me. It's just there, waiting, and in infinite acreage, never further from the city than now. Reason? No doubt so they - or their type, developers - can feel 'richer'.
 
Both are operating systems, advocating systems, and displacing systems, which are unsustainable in present - or any proven alternative - form.
 
 
Reminds me of HMAS Sydney and the Kormoran.
 
:)
 
 

PDK have a look at the building consents in Christchurch versus selwyn and Waimakariri on the Statistics New Zealand website. More houses are being built outside of Christchurch. In November it was something like 200+ in the councils around Christchurch versus 140 odd in Christchurch. So instead of the rebuild creating a envrionmently bike friendly city we are getting 20km commute from satelite towns like Rolleston.
So our current urban containment regulalatory environment is not even giving the compact city and protected farm land that supporters claim. These policies do not work for affordable housing but they also do work from a sustainable environment point of view.
 
I do not know why you put so much effort in supporting them.

But I don't support either of them. Who told you that? Both ships ended up sunk - that was my point.
 
Ultimately, smaller 'sattelites' will probably be more resilient - closer to local food, more capable of being a 'community', post the fossil-fuelled 'dog-eat-dog' era. Big cities without hinterland are 100% doomed.
 
I've always said that we probably should be - and will, but always too late - infilling the old towns. They'll be the right places, given that mostly they were sited for the right reasons (mineral extraction siting excepted).
 
No point in being withing bike commute of a CBD - what's a CBD gonna be doing? That's where a lot of the greenies get it wrong; they understand depleted resources but don't get that it means depleted work being a'done. Certainly of the CBD kind. (There'll be a lot more work in food production,,,,,)

Any particular existing NZ sattelite towns you would recommend PDK?
I think an issue for a lot of urban greenies is that they currently don't have skills in food (or other) production.  They have often invested in an education and career path that has geared them up for this fantasy world of perpetual economic growth, a stable global population and endless cheap energy and other resources. 
So making the shift from the economically, culturally and socially rich urban environment is a challenge in the short term.  Particularly for the younger ones, who don't have the means to buy their own land. 
Plus in the cities there is good access to health care and other services. Family and friends are here.  It would be nice to think people in cities could adapt, growing food in private and community gardens.  In cities, timebanks and community gardens etc are thriving. 

"sattelite" isnt if your post is anything to go by what you think it is, at all.
I dont know where you are coming from but your comments seem hugely un-informed or in-correct in terms of "greenie". 
"real" greenies (for want of a better term) pretty much have a good idea so I very much disagree with you.  Now pseudo-greenies, those who say they are concerned but only as long as its not effecting them well yes...."Perpetual economic growth" cheap energy etc, is most of the right but also much of the left, greenie doesnt even enter into it IMHO.
"So making the shift" yes this will be very tough...and yes we are talking but a few years, and yes community gardens etc will be the way it is.  On the brighter side in NZ with 4million it isnt impossible, NZers also I think have the right attitude to do it, 70million in the UK?  nasty IMHO.
regards
 
 
 

Yes I think you're right about NZ being a better place to be.
So what is your definition of satellite then Steven?  I simply asked for an opinion about which specific NZ towns are potential winners. Perhaps you have a view you'd like to share about this?
I wouldn't usually use the term 'greenie' in this context (it obviously strikes a raw nerve with you) but chose to do so in response to PDK's comment,
 "No point in being withing bike commute of a CBD - what's a CBD gonna be doing? That's where a lot of the greenies get it wrong; they understand depleted resources but don't get that it means depleted work being a'done."
Scrap the term 'greenie' then Steven.  I'm just referring in general to people who are trying to adapt to the new reality.
 

Satellitte or whatever is a very hard Q to answer because we dont as yet know the end point. 
Sorry if I was a bit abrupt but we have all these what I describe as fantasies on what the world will look like. Frankly I dont think we know, and I odnt think anyone else does either. Whenever I see such ideas examining them shows so many holes that it cannot be justified.  So its going to have to develop and in such a way that can change fairly easily as circumstances unfold.
So for instance some ppl (council planners seem common) with "vision" see self-contained villages joined by electric public transport infrastructure....that still needs a certain energy level.  I'd suspect that such a nivana is pie in the sky....
For layouts for instance what is going to be the most critical thing? will it be food production? or some other aspect that is over-riding?
Yes lets scrap greenie because really everyone has to adapt, its blanket, red, green, blue etc all have to adapt jsut some greenies are most advanced than others.
If you have youtube ie broadband there is a very interesting series on how cuba adapted after the fall of communism, its the best thing Ive seen in that its real.  I suspect this how we will be in say 30 years tops, Ive seen nothing else convincing.
NB, CBD, will I think be gone...I mean whats in it? stock brokers? who needs them? expensive lawyers?  unaffordable, so these look more and more like carrot pullers to me, ie cheap labour.
The biggest weakness of Greenies is they assume almost en masse that 7 billion people is OK and indeed by all of us eating leeks we will get to 9billion by say 2030. Personally I think 2 billion by 2030 is far far more likely as mechanical farming goes bye bye.  So really they fail to address over-population, so nature will do that for us, hence NZ is the place to be.
regards
 
 
 

Yes, it's all so complex.  Like you say, we'll have to have the flexibility to adapt to whatever unfolds as it unfolds. 
Thanks for the recommendation about the series re Cuba.  I'll check it out.
I think a lot of people need a 'vison' so they can feel optimistic about an alternative future, take action, and keep going.  It's frustrating when the proposed solutions don't take into account the true extent of the limitations we face.  

Susu, I like Amberley. You can still get 1/4 acre sections for less than what you would pay in Christchurch for shoe box plots. It has a proper community, school, library etc. that has existed for 100+ years so should be viable community post oil. It is on the main train line, so you will still be connected to the rest of NZ. It is the centre to a genuine farming community. And you have the Waipara wine valley to your north so no problems with access to the good stuff.
 
I think if you built sensibly to minimise electricity use, plant fruit and nut trees, have a garden you are probably doing as much as you can to adapt to a post oil world.

Thanks Brendon.  I appreciate your reply.  Amberley sounds great :)

Susu - there are more than there aren't. I'd set a max population of say 10,000, and make sure there was a good river close or there.
 
I've written about sharing rural land with young folk who will never get their foot-in-the-door. We owners will be aging - running out of grunt - while they will have the grunt but be landless. Seems perfectly symbiotic to me. We're planning it here right now.
 
Cities have some advantages - intellectual stimulation being perhaps the prime - but they're on a non-stop triage course now. You pays your rates and you'se on the toboggan. Health-care and other services? They're mostly oil-backed, no guarantee they'll all be intact and available (and I'm talking by 2020, not a generation away). Exiting a city is just the refugee question in miniature - "but come ye back, when summer's in the meadow" goes back a ways. Not too long ago, most of our ancestors made the permanent move.
 
Invested? I guess that depends how you look at it. Currently, a piece of paper is required more and more to earn an income-stream. Essentially, that's a result of the drive to cash-in on exclusivity, but it can't continue - so it won't. Folk will revert to doing illegal things to survive, and the holder of the bit of paper will be left out of the loop -  efficiency in the face of scarcity, pretty much.

Thanks for your reply PDK.  I hope there will be more like you who will consider sharing their land.  Is there somewhere I can find out more about these kinds of initiatives? Symbiosis sounds better than serfdom :)
It's true, health care won't be the same...  and pieces of paper won't count for much.
 

Thanks for the clarification. So you are on record that urban containment versus the free supply of urban land are both as bad as each other, because they ignore the impending disaster of peak oil?

Thanks for the clarification. So you are on record that urban containment versus the free supply of urban land are both as bad as each other, because they ignore the impending disaster of peak oil?

Brendon - would it be better if the Titanic deckchairs were left out on the deck, or put away for the night?
 
That's about what I think of your comment.
 
Peak oil - and the bigger-picture limits to growth - will see us with the current housing-stock still existing. That is currently more than 50% urban (from skyscrapers to shantys, but it's urban). We are stuck with it. I neither approve or disapprove (although in hindsight it will appear a mistake), merely accept that it is there.
  The best that can be done - in the time and with the resources remaining - is to retro-fit it in the direction of energy-efficiency, probably starting with solar hot-water, currently cheaper via PV than water/tubes.
That leaves the question of the best place/concentration of new-builds, and the best places to abandon/triage.
 
By and large, less fossil energy in food production will result in more human energy there, and they will have to be housed. Clearly, tract/sprawl wouldn't do that, assuming we use the rural area for food. Cuba in the blockade (don't confuse it with ideological prejudice) is a working example of what happens in that king of perma-stress.
 
As Martenson points out, in the last 22 years, we've burned half the oil ever burned. The previous half, obviously, took 100-odd. Think about that, if you're a 'growth is forever' believer.

As these guys said;
 

by Plan B | 21 Jan 13, 9:30pm

0

 

Vote up!

Incredulous foreigners comment on our housing crisis,
 
http://qz.com/45643/new-zealand-has-0-5-people-per-square-kilometer-and-...
 
Hong Kong is the world’s costliest property market, according to Demographia. That is understandable, as Hong Kong is tiny and crowded.
But New Zealand has more sheep and cows than people, and an enormous amount of uninhabited land. According to government data, the land where Lord of the Rings was filmed to take advantage of its stunning, empty landscape, has an average 0.5 people per square kilometer. Which means every Kiwi, on average, has an area bigger than Vatican City to themselves. Nor is the Kiwi economy booming. GDP inched up 0.2% in the three months to last September, compared to the same time last year.

by robby217 | 22 Jan 13, 2:29am New

0

 

Vote up!

Don't worry pdk will be along shortly to advise on how much of a land shortage we have, direct from his sprawling bunker-estate in the heart of the Kilmog.

 

PDK said:
"..... They want no regulation, endless 'supply' of land. Presumably that land isn't doing anything now. It wouldn't be feeding folk in cities, of course......."
Cities where? If NZ had 40 million people, perhaps our farmland would be feeding New Zealanders.
As it is, we are using 45% of our land for an extremely low value use, exporting food to other nations that sell us back cars and TV's. 
And apparently we must not allow the 0.8% of our land that is URBAN economy and a use that is dozens of times higher value than farming, to grow by even another 0.1% by converting this TINY fraction of the 45% low-value-use land to high-value-use land.........
There is a classic book called "The Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot"
PDK is the epitome of the perfect Kiwi idiot.

And here it gets a repeat
The serious art of mis-information. How it's propagated. The claim is Hobbitsville has a population of ½ person per sq km (km2) presumably when all the hobbits are away on holiday. Thus, within the space of a few of words, it morphs into NZ being presented as a wilderness wonderland with a population density accross the whole country of ½ person per sq km (km2) including un-inhabitable areas of the Southern Alps and the high country etc etc .. so, without challenge, and by repeated telling, it becomes true. yeah. right.

The late Sir Paul Callaghan pointed out that farming and tourism keep NZ a low-wage economy. Perhaps they provide lots of jobs, but you don't grow relative national wealth any other way than adding high-income jobs and high value activities to the economy.
Callaghan pointed out that if NZ got another 100 manufacturing exporters as good as our current top 40, that would make us the highest-income economy in the OECD. But growing farming or tourism employment is like Bangladesh adding by-hand carpet-weaving jobs.
By the way, the McKinsey institute pointed out in the 1998 paper, "Driving Productivity and Growth in the UK Economy", that it was impossible for anything like Silicon Valley to occur in the UK or anywhere else where they have strict growth-containment urban planning. They also suggested that most of the UK's lag in productivity compared to its main trading partners (a 20 to 40% lag) was due to its strict growth-containment urban planning.
So "smart growth" is the wrong word for it. 

There is or will be no such thing as "growth" any more what ever oxy moron words get put in with it.
Quite why or how productivity is linked to containment planning is to say the least dubious....but oh wait as per your fantasy world of course GDP is bigger more houses mean all is well!!....meaningless of course.  A 15 year paper btw? put out by a right wing "think tank" (oxy moron), yeah right.
regards
 

There will always be growth in some industries relative to others. With peak oil around the corner, the industries that use the most oil-based products or energy will be the first to go. So expect commercial-scale farming and air travel (and therefore tourism) to disappear quickly. Those industries which are less oil-intensive such as high-tech, IT and the information economy are a better bet for longer-term prosperity.

um....the problem is energy left to do things after the essential is done.
a) So I totally agree on air travel, its toast yet we own a swag of Air NZ shares, ffs sell them quick. 
b) Commercial scale farming is or has to be different IMHO its essential at the individual level and society level without ready access to ample food neither will survive for long IMHO.  It has to be the last to go.
c) High tech, well the point is we only need and can have high tech if its needed, its very energy intensive. If as I suspect we will live a lot simpler we wont need it, or will simply cost too much so it can and will I suspect go bye bye.  Will there be an Internet in say 20 years?  I really wonder, I suspect not.  That of course has implications for education, information transfer, (eg where is info stored? who really uses books these days?) and much else.
Then just thinking what do we do with all the people who were in air transport and tourism? let alone all the other sectors, its mind boggling.
regards
 
 
 
 

Maybe we need to read this then Steven; http://richardheinberg.com/bookshelf/the-end-of-growth-book; I agree with your sentiments. 

PDK said:
"......Ah, so in one corner we have someone who wants constrained supply, thus higher prices of the existing stock. Reason? No doubt so he can feel 'richer'........"
HOORAAAAAYYYYYY, PDK shows that he has FINALLY "got it".
Who got the message across finally, PDK? Heaven knows I was trying for long enough.
But then PDK spoils it by accusing the developers of suburbs on rural land, as also wanting to "feel richer". 
PDK: you can have rationed supply and land bankers making several hundred percent capital gain on that rural land, just because some planner has zoned it. Or you can have a free market, and developers competing with each other and bringing houses onto the market with minimal capital gain on the raw land. It is stupid to regard these two cases as both suffering from the same greed and self-interest. In the first case, land bankers make several times as much money for doing nothing productive; in fact they make their gains by making everyone else poorer. In the latter case, people are honestly providing in-demand products with honest effort, providing jobs, and making an honest and slender profit. It is not a case of "feeling richer", it is a case of an honest livelihood. Are you going to accuse anyone and everyone who is making a living, of doing it just to "feel richer"?

You really dont (or want to) get where he and I are coming from, not one bit.
Then of course you try and put words in others mouth's, then shoot it down.
"honest", no not on your part, but then you adequately meet the profile of a fanatic living in fantasy land, so no one should be surprised.
regards
 
 

Steven - we must assume that there is at least growth of wifi coverage in dementia wards.
 
I thought the blurt was somewhat telling. "Those guys make a killing, but we only make a teensy-weensy.......' 
 
Think my 'both going down shooting at each other' analogy was more like it.   :)

1st home buyer should adjust their expectation accordingly.  I searched Trademe for properties in Auckland between 200-300K and it returned 2270 listings !! 
Start small people and be realistic, just like buying your first car. You don't expect your first car to be a Mini Cooper S JCW eventhough it's quite a cool car!
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/CategoryAttributeSearchResults.aspx?search=1&cid=5748&sidebar=1&rptpath=0350-5748-3399-&132=PROPERTY&selected135=7&134=1&135=&153=&29=&122=0&122=0&49=200000&49=300000&178=0&178=0&sidebarSearch_keypresses=0&sidebarSearch_suggested=0
 

Your argument is invalid. On the first page alone, three listings come back with CVs of over $1M ..... dickhead listing agents putting the "search value" at $100k to pull in maximum views.
 
On that page, pretty much all you can get are apartments or units in stabby areas. Pretty much everything else there is $400k+ territory.

Ok what's wrong with apartment or unit as a 1st timer?  I started out as an apartment owner  in the mid 90s, sold that gone into a unit and then a home few years later.    As I said 1st home buyer should adjust their expectation.
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/CategoryAttributeSearchResults.aspx?search=1&cid=5748&sidebar=1&rptpath=0350-5748-3399-&132=PROPERTY&selected135=7&134=1&135=&153=&29=&122=0&122=0&49=200000&49=300000&178=0&178=0&sidebarSearch_keypresses=0&sidebarSearch_suggested=0
 

My point was more that apartments come with more ongoing costs and risk than a freestanding house. Have you heard the uproar about spiralling body-corp costs in Auckland lately?
 
Also, these aren't really great places to be raising a family, which is what kiwis tend to do once they've bought their first home.

I think this is the problem - we are complaining that Auckland houses are more expensive than New York or London, but we are not prepared to live in Apartments or Units like they do in New York and London. 

Invalid argument.
 
London, Population 14 million, density 5206/square km.
New York, Population 8.2 million, density 10,429/square km.
Auckland, Population 1.5 million, density 2700/square km.
Now I'm not advocating quarter-acre properties like is so often opined by the spruiker brigade, But freestanding or terraced townhouses on a small bit of lawn, enough for a child to play outside in the sun. Something like what we have in Stonefields.... just not at the $850,000 price tag they're asking there for terraced housing.

Fair enough - can't you get those terraced houses in Botany for reasonable money?
I wonder if you can get what you are asking for in similar sized cities, such as Birmingham, Milan, Vancouver, etc. My gut feeling is even in thouse cities the median house is actually on a smaller amount of land than a standard unit is in NZ.

 I raised my kid in a 2br apartment until he was 6.  We often strolled down the road to play in the park nearby.  Our next home then was a duplex with a courtyard lawn 7x10m (in Ellerslie).  He's now a teenager and hasn't displayed any abnormal psychological symptoms of not growing up in a 1/4 acres section!  melbourne standard piece of land is now 200 sq m. 
If you want bigger section - go south, go west, go east - there are plenty of house + section for reasonable price.  Don't hang around the city and expect to pay 300K for a house and land.

The word "smart growth" is as perfect as the world "sprawl"...if you want people to believe the opposite of what is true. You have to salute the planner's capacity for verbal manipulation.

Best quote of the day:
""What tends to happen is you see people who say 'I'm going to wait for prices to go down'. There's a good name for those people and that's tenants," he said."
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=1086...
 

Not a bad thread, chaps and chapesses.
 
A few sacred cows to demolish though.
 
A famous quote is that 'there is a deal of ruin in a country'.  The speaker was simply noting the bleeding obvious - that there is a visible and an invisible economy, and the sum of all such resources is at least partly (by definition) invisible.  It takes longer to run down, (the 'ruin' of the quote) than any prediction would allow.
 
So the Peak Oil run-down will be slower and gentler than the excitable ones imagine.  And NZ is peculiarly well placed to transition gracefully.  Southland has 300 years of transport fuels inherent in its lignite, at current rates of consumption (Google "lignite crown minerals southland deposits".)  So accept the awful energy return, and use some smaller fraction (30 years worth,say) using the well-understood SASOL process.  Hey presto - a Transition period.  A deal of Ruin....
 
Secondly, C&C, please do note the rhetoric around 'urban sprawl'.  But right now, in the lifestyle blocks which surround every major city (like, Ohoka to Oxford along South Eyre Road - a wall-to-wall carpet of 4-10ha lots for 40km...) we have massive sprawl, extremely poor land utilisation (ponies, thistles, hedges and lawns, none of which IMHO count as factors in production), inherently long commutes, and hence very low resilience.
 
Creating new subdivisons, at rural land costs, around the fringes of cities is (as Hugh P reminds us) the 'vent' housing sections which constitute the first rung on the housing ladder.  So exactly what is the issue with this, compared to the proliferation of lifestyle blocks, again, folks?
 
Finally, do recall the Vested Interests (I recounted them above in the thread, but here's a summary) which stand in the way of cheaper housing (decomposed into Land, Materials and Local Gumnut):
 
Land:

  • anyone near a MUL, who once MUL's are kicked into the trashcan of history, will lose a massive although unearned and untaxed capital gain.  They won't be amused.
  • anyone sitting on urban zoned but still undeveloped land.  If new supply is released at rural prices, they will (play the record...) lose a massive although unearned and untaxed capital gain.  They won't be amused.

Materials

  • anyone who works in one of the duopolists, or their supply chains (typically 10x the direct store/retail employment).  Their pricing cartel will be dismantled, and the reduced prices/transfer costs will ripple right back down said chain.  No-one will be amused:  less $, lower margins, lower sellings costs needed, less employment, more automation and robots.

Local GumNut

  • anyone sucking at the bountiful teat of Social and Cultural Well-beings
  • anyone in the Planning departments (a misnomer - most couldn't Plan their way out of a Wet Paper Bag) so let's call them by their economic effect:  the Stealth Wealth Destruction and Deadweight Addition Brigade
  • anyone in the consumption-of-other-than-Rates revenue streams.  Because these streams are gonna dry up big time.  That's an awful lotta brown cardie types and did I mention all these affected peoples can Vote?
  • I reckin 2/3 of LG employmnent could vanish.  Thta's a lot of unamusement.

 
I rather suspect that the VI will conspire to continue BAU. 
 
Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat cut off from the oxygen of Funding.....

Bit of a non sequitur there, misty.
 
I merely note that one cannot in one breath rail aboot the Weevils of Sprawl, and in the next breath laud the superb ownership choices of lifestylers (who unequivocally consume a shedload of acreage).
 
And I dinnae recall touting any forced acquisition of the aforesaid ranchettes.  That would be an invasion of private property rights and would not be tolerated by freedom-loving GodZoners.
 
Except of course if the property happens ter be in the Frame for the Chch CBD.  There, CERA rules....
 

I'm wondering if the main problem in Auckland is the lack of good suburbs. Most of South and West Auckland have pretty bad reputations, and even a fair amount of Auckland City.  That pretty much leaves the very expensive good areas of Auckland City and the commuter nightmare of the North Shore.

This is a bit of a problem. Mount Wellington is passable, Otahuhu at a stretch and there's some okayish areas in Manukau and Papakura but pretty much everything else is a hell hole until you hit Drury.

If you can put up with it for now, the bad parts of the former Auckland City all seem to be improving - Avondale, Roskill, Otahuhu, Mt Wellington, Panmure, GI. We live in Mt Roskill and our street is really good. You just need to avoid the state house infested streets.  In saying this, these areas are also getting quite expensive...

Also New Windsor is an often overlooked reasonably affordable livable centralish suburb

We lived in Blockhouse Bay before - not bad quite reasonable price and largish section.  1st home buyers just have to look beyond Grey Lynn, Pt Chev, Westmere...

Oh dear.  An argument for the perfectibility of humna nature.
 
Grumpy old cynics like meself aver that humans are built from crooked timber, and that Utopian thinking tends to founder on that awkward fact, leading shortly thereafter to Distopia.
 
The classic monkey solution (read Nicholas Wade ' Before the Dawn' ) is to exterminate the Other, because wiping out most but leaving a few of them to fester simply causes issues down the track.
 
Not a popular solution today, although it worked neatly for the Barbary Pirates (the origin of the US Marines...)