Auckland housing now the most unaffordable it has been since interest.co.nz's Home Loan Affordability reports began in 2004, with first home buyers increasingly priced out of the market

Auckland housing now the most unaffordable it has been since interest.co.nz's Home Loan Affordability reports began in 2004, with first home buyers increasingly priced out of the market
Home ownership is increasingly out of reach for first home buyers in Auckland.

By Greg Ninness

Auckland housing is now the most unaffordable it has been for first home buyers since interest.co.nz began collating house price and household income data for its Home Loan Affordability Reports in January 2004.

The Home Loan Affordability Report for Auckland shows that a typical first home buying couple earning the median wage for their age group would now need to set aside more than half their after-tax income to meet the mortgage payments on a lower quartile-priced home.

The reports consider mortgage payments to be affordable when they take up no more than 40% of take home pay. The Auckland Affordability Report for March shows the mortgage payments on a lower quartile-priced home in Auckland would take up 50.12% of typical first home buyers’ after-tax income.

It is the first time that the mortgage payments on a lower quartile priced home have passed the 50% threshold since interest.co.nz began collating the data for its Home Loan Affordability reports in January 2004.

The reports provide a good measure of affordability because as well as tracking monthly movements in house prices, they also track the median after-tax wages of couples aged 25-29 in full time employment in locations throughout the country, via Statistics NZ’s Linked Employer Employee Data Series (LEEDS). They also estimate how much of their weekly income would be taken up by mortgage payments if they purchased a home at the REINZ’s lower quartile selling price for the same region.

Separate Home Loan Affordability Reports are available for each of the following regions and cities (click to view).
Northland Regional
Whangarei
Auckland Regional
Rodney
North Shore
Auckland Central
Waitakere
Manukau
Papakura/Franklin
Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional
Hamilton
Tauranga
Rotorua
Hawke's Bay/Gisborne Regional
Gisborne
Napier
Hastings
Wairarapa
Taranaki Regional
New Plymouth
Manawatu/Whanganui Regional
Palmerston North
Whanganui
Wellington Regional
Wellington City
Hutt Valley
Kapiti
Porirua
Nelson/Marlborough Regional
Nelson
Canterbury Regional
Christchurch
Timaru
Central Otago/Lakes Regional
Queenstown
Otago Regional
Dunedin
Southland Regional
Invercargill
All of New Zealand
 

The reports also monitor movements in mortgage interest rates, and this allows them to estimate how changes in house prices, incomes and interest rates would affect housing affordability for typical first home buyers (click on the links in the box at left to read reports for individual districts).

In March the REINZ’s lower quartile selling price hit a new record high of $735,200 in Auckland, while the estimated combined median after-tax income for a couple where both were aged 25-29 and working full time in Auckland was $1605.90 a week.

The estimated mortgage repayments on a home purchased for $735,200 would be $804.86 a week, equivalent to 50.12% of a typical couple’s take home pay, and that is before other property related costs such as rates, insurance and maintenance, which may also be substantial.

More than one obstacle

However being able to afford the mortgage payments is just one obstacle first home buyers would need to negotiate to get into a home of their own.

They would also need to save a deposit.

The Home Loan Affordable Reports calculate how much typical first home buying couples would have accumulated to put towards a deposit if they saved 20% of their net income for four years and put the money into an interest earning bank deposit.

An Auckland couple earning the median wage for their age group would have saved $73,319 over four years, which unfortunately is just 9.98% of Auckland’s lower quartile selling price.

So not only would couples earning average wages struggle to afford the mortgage payments on a  cheaper home in Auckland, they would also struggle to raise a sufficient deposit, and that in turn means they could struggle to find a bank willing to provide them with a mortgage, even if they believed they could afford the repayments.

This combination of factors is why so many younger people in Auckland appear to be giving up on the prospect of ever owning their own home and resigning themselves to the prospect of renting for the rest of their lives.

And it is not something people could have planned for.

From affordable to severely unaffordable in under three years

The reports show that housing in Auckland only moved into unaffordable territory for typical first home buyers in October 2014.

Prior to that mortgage payments on a lower quartile-priced home in the region were below the 40% of net income threshold that determines whether payments are affordable or not.

So buying a first home in Auckland has gone from being affordable to severely unaffordable in less than three years.

There’s a simple explanation.

Over the last three years Auckland’s lower quartile selling price has increased by $222,600, rising from $512,600 in March 2014 to $735,200 in March this year.

That’s an increase of 43.5%.

But over the same period, the median after tax income of Auckland couples aged 25-29 who both work full time has gone from $1502.09 a week to $1605.90 a week, up $103.81 a week or +6.9%.

Which means house prices have increased at a far greater rate than incomes.

That has been driven by two main factors: falling interest rates and strong migration-driven population growth, which means demand for homes has outstripped the supply of new homes by a considerable margin.

Over the last three years the average two year fixed mortgage rate offered by the major banks has fallen from 6.13% to 4.84%.

All other things being equal, mortgage payments should have come down, but they have gone up instead.

That’s because it is human nature that people tend to buy the best home they can afford, and for first home buyers that often means borrowing as much as they can.

So when interest rates come down, the amount they borrow goes up and that means they are prepared to pay more for their home, which pushes prices up.

The result is that buyers end up paying more for the property they want and take on more debt to do so.

That process has then been supercharged by the high levels of migration-driven population growth that has occurred over the last three years, with the growth in Auckland’s population exceeding the ability of the building industry to produce new homes.

Housing shortage growing

It is estimated that since 2010 Auckland’s housing shortage has grown to around 30,000 homes and is continuing to increase month by month as migration-fuelled population growth continues to hit new highs.

Of course this is not the first time housing has been unaffordable in Auckland.

According to the Home Loan Affordability Reports, mortgage repayments on lower quartile priced homes in Auckland were above the 40% of net income threshold for typical first home buyers between December 2006 and August 2008, peaking in that cycle at 45.67% in November 2007.

What was different back then was that mortgage interest rates were comparatively high, coming in at 8.13% in December 2006 and peaking at 9.64% in March 2008, before starting a steady decline.

Now the situation is reversed.

The average two year fixed mortgage rate hit its all-time low of 4.35% in May last year, and has since tracked up to 4.84% in March and is expected to keep rising.

That means the pain caused by Auckland’s housing crisis is unlikely to be restricted to the generation being locked out of home ownership.

There could also be tears in store for those who have borrowed heavily to buy Auckland property, either to live in themselves or as an investment to rent out, as they face a rising interest rate tide.

The problems that have been created in Auckland’s housing market are now long term and structural.

They are beyond the quick fix of policies that fiddle at the margins of the problem.

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.

146 Comments

32
up

Auckland now costs 50.12% for a couple. If you want kids, your mortgage will only be 100.24% of an individual's pay. Nevermind rates, food, clothing, commuting, student loan etc

This is called a housing CRISIS.

Also note this figure is across the whole of the Auckland region - from Wellsford to Pokeno - not just the leafy suburbs.

11
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Look the government is doing all it can
Why another near 72,000 migrants just arrived in another record year of new arrivals
I'm sure the government has a plan
If only pigs could fly

22
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Fear not..Mr Joyce has recently discovered it's to do with the tax bands. Once these are adjusted all will be well.
https://www.interest.co.nz/property/87261/finance-minister-joyce-says-go...

Classic, the reality is, getting rid of the top tax bracket like he is hinting at would just put more money in the hands of property speculators to push properties up higher. The real solution is increasing rates against the value of land only or dropping income tax or GST and re-implementing land value tax.

11
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Shhh, you're not supposed to say that. People will think you are a party pooper. Beware the thought police.

There is no housing crisis. Move along please.

Rastas ! Joyce handles tax bands Not to be confused with hair bands
Mr Key handles those

Fear not..Mr Joyce has recently discovered it's to do with the tax bands. Next he'll conclude that we need to "help" FHBs by privatizing more public assets, cutting back on government spending, increasing immigration, handing over what little sovereignty we have left with TPPA-like agreements. Or my personal favourite - handing responsibility to the private sector (as in the recent case of caring for the mentally ill - what the heck!!!!)

Thank you Mr Joyce for demonstrating how desperately we need a new government with a different set of ideas!

I'm totally in support of making flinging dildoes at Stephen Joyce a regular national pastime.

If anyone knows of a better use for them, could they please explain in detail.

Well, I can't think of a better use for Stephen Joyce.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL !!!!!!!

Cutting mental health services, as the government has done. And trust me the cuts have been severe according to people I know in the sector. Is a very bad idea. Some of these people will then go on to commit crimes, replacing mental health cost for prison costs, when they needed to be cared for. If you don't have compassion as a society for the sick and the old, then there is something seriously wrong.

Not only cuts, but the continued use of outdated and poor success indicators. A lot of mental health organisations still receive funding based on numbers of patients seen rather than and kind of outcome based success/failures. Consequently mental health professionals are themselves suffering from stress, overwork, anxiety etc and are leaving the profession.

double post

I saw this article recently, IN the bay of plenty alone 24,000 smokers contributed $90 million in tobacco tax. Thats $3700 of tobacco tax per smoker. Given that more often than not people with mental illness are also likely to be smokers, that's a pretty harsh regressive tax. Before anyone tries to tell me they consume more health services, yes but they also die earlier reducing the countries superannuation burden. Even if you ignore the morality and look at it from an economic point of view, imagine what that 90 million in tax doing to aggregate demand in the BOP, how much disposable income is being sucked out of the economy.

Is this news?

Does anyone who comes here not know that?

For sure, I have empathy for first home buyers. But getting a footing on the property ladder is not going to become any easier...... Foreign investors (especially in Wellington and Auckland) will make sure of that.

20
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The big news is that is has gone from 31% to 50% in 5 years. That's a huge increase. Ask your National MP if this is acceptable?

And ask your Labour Mayor.

Good point, central government has no power to do much at all...especially not around demand factors, RMA legislation etc.

12
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Isn't it demand that central government has the most power to control by way of easing off on immigration numbers and dropping the stupid, stupid, stupid student work visa scheme. National has created a great deal of the the demand.

And it's lower quartile only, aspire to anything grander - closer, bigger, not needing work which is extra $$$ - and it will be even more expansive.

Obvious next step should be addressing the distortion caused by foreign investment.

23
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Step 1 - admit there is a problem
Step 2 - find and apply solutions

Currently, we have a failing at step 1

I think in fairness only the National government and a few property investors are failing at step 1.

12
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Rick how could this be ? Why the wizard of wall st was NZs PM for years & years.
Where is he now ?
Scampered off

After sending Bill the hospital pass ..

22
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Not entirely true. National/John Key campaigned on improving the 'housing crisis' back in 07/08. That was step one - but then went from step 1 back to step 0 somehow. That's how effective the National leadership has been th last 10 years.....backwards.

True, he may have neglected to mention "improving it" meant making things better for investor landlords, perhaps.

The National Party and ACT did some truly amazing stuff, creating a unique governance regime - called a super city.

Never again will city be called city, town be called town, village called village, the countryside called the countryside. Any place where two houses or more sit next to each other and maybe have a street light can be called urban. Nowadays legally Goble Rd, Clarks Beach is an urban zone and Point View Drive, Howick is rural.

I would have called it peak absurdity, but it still required someone to make real idiocy happen.

Auckland elected Len Brown (Labour).

Exactly - Do nothing National are stuck at Step 0.
Putting Smithy in charge of housing was designed that they remain at step 0. National are very proud of the non effort Minister Smith put in to ensure there was no change.

smithy is building houses on reserves. so he is at least doing something?

I am surprised that in fact SOME FHB CAN afford AKL housing. I don't understand. Why should FHB expects to buy into Auckland? In Singapore, no one buys into Orchard district except the ultra rich, and I believe in London too. Maybe for FHB to wish to buy into AKL is an unrealistic expectation to start with? Rather, the government should look at creating more jobs regionally so that pple (including immigrants) can look at living / relocating to other areas. NZ is huge and not short of land. The problem is trying to squeeze too many into one area, instead of spreading the jobs out and building more infrastructure elsewhere.

If anyone is actually obtaining loans where their mortgage payments are more than 40% of take home pay, then the lender is imprudent, and the borrower is reckless.

@Peri . yes in some countries Banks can be prosecuted for reckless lending and cannot have recourse to the courts if they lent to a defaulting borrower recklessly.

Lending money to people who clearly could slide into default is reckless lending , end of story .

How can it be a crisis when house price increases make everyone (homeowners) rich and provide a perpetual wealth creating machine. All you need to do is buy an investment property or two and then sit back while the cash flows in. If everyone did this then we can all quit the day job and retire.

This sounds like a perpetual motion machine - which are impossible in physics and economics.

Surely tax cut for low-medium income earners (30k to 80k pa) would now be a logical step to take, and this should be compensated by increasing the income tax for higher income earners (80k plus).

18
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Typical investor response - get someone else to pay. The extra tax should be from those making out like bandits on investment property rather than those earning a living,

12
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1) Extend the brightline test to 5 years.
2) Stamp duty on new build purchases by foreign investors of 20%.
3) Ban foreign buying of existing properties.
4) Vacant property tax of circa 2% per annum.
5) Undeveloped land tax of 1% per annum.
6) Interest free grants from the Guvmint for FHBs.
7) Capital gains tax on a sliding scale; the further from the purchase date the lesser the tax.
8) LVRs of 50% for speculators.

I disagree with 6) Interest free grants from the Guvmint for FHBs.

This will serve to increase demand (and raise the prices FHBs) can afford. The other measures address undesirable demand.

If anything, the government could bring back previously-used measures such as government building activity and take a bulk purchasing approach to some material costs (as Pharmac does with medicine).

Good point. Maybe a backdated loan or grant then? For example: a FHB buys a house for $350,000 with a $100,000 deposit, and gets $50,000 of the $250,000 loan interest free with the Guvmint footing the bill.

Whatever you do to allow the FHB to pay more will rise the price of the FHB home.

Why should the Govn foot the bill (and take the risk of a loss) for a private transaction?

Wildcard, so your solution for making something cheaper is to tax it more (5 of your 8 points add tax). Have you really thought this through ? None of it addresses the demand - supply imbalance.

Yvil: Wildcard is right to suggest these taxes, which are fairly standard with the rest of the Western world. Most of which are aimed at reduce Foreign Property Investors from buying out residence land and homes from under them.

My solution is to stop incetivising investing in non-productive assets, property speculation and land banking. Obviously more housing development and immigration caps is a no brainer. Keep in mind that list is only what I thought about in less than a minute and is by no means complete.

Reduce Immigration by a lot.
No Foreign Investors and Buyers of residential homes.

Leave NZers to there own devices.

Reduce Government a lot....only need one idiot to keep making mistakes...why have any more?.

@wildcard , you are on the right track with the exception of point 6 , interest free anything causes major headaches ........

Interest is the rent paid for using money , so the money has got to come from somewhere and it cannot be for free

Due to the fact the have made the taxation system so convoluted they will have enormous issues cutting taxes on the earners you are talking about.

The inequality of the NZ taxation system on earnings will be exposed. Currently those with families in your disclosed tax brackets get most of their taxes back through various mechanisms e.g. WFF.

18
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It would seem that with too much capital now in property the best thing would be to reduce income tax and increase property tax. That would help address the current imbalance.

Logical - too easy

I'd love to see a land tax 1-2% of value. It would raise lots of revenue and encourage people to develop the land they have.

Those tax cuts will make little difference to the recipients or to the government's books. The lower tax rate (i.e., moving the bracket higher) will be offset by lower transfers.

It will be a no/neutral change for nearly everyone, I suspect (unless they raise the thresholds for the transfers at the same time - which I doubt they will).

I think this is far from a logical step. The logical step is to rebalance the market so all of the society benefits from the regulations, tax structure etc.

Realistically the current situation cannot be fixed quickly nor without the risk of significant economic impact. Incomes will need to rise, house prices will need to fall, new regulation to protect New Zealanders future will need to be introduced.

The question is. How much of each are we all willing to accept?

Wages need to rise to make it affordable, by .... what is possible 10%, 20% across the economy (fast rising incomes will lead to currency devaluation to maintain economic viability of our export lead economy.

House prices need to fall to make it affordable, by ... again what is possible 10%, 20% , 30%, 40% depending on the quality of the house and the potential to earn a living close by. A large fall will impact the banks which will further impact lending and further lower pricing. it could also weaken the NZD exchange rate, this may be a good thing as export incomes should grow and some overseas investors may decide to exit due to the devaluation risk, increasing volume of houses on the market further deflating house prices.

What could drive large falls in house prices?
- Large increase in supply, certainly some changes required to drive this, possibilities; open up potential for higher density living around transport hubs, enable large scale temporary housing with moveable homes to lower rental costs and improve quality. (I heard something like this was done after WWII)
- Lower the cost of building, reducing cost of building consent etc. investigation in to building material duo-opilly to lower cost of building.
- Change in taxation to make speculating on housing less profitable, and introduce minimum quality standard for rental properties forcing the home owner to bring the house up to standard before being allowed to rent it out along with a special taxation on vacant house for force them to either up grade the house to rent it out or sell it. A large fall in house prices will also have a large impact on the existing speculators.
- Introduction of regulations to protect New Zealanders, removing the right for non Citizen and non resident from purchasing houses and land in NZ,
- Forced divestment, all non citizen and non resident could be given 1 year to divest from their NZ housing assets. After 1 year the state would make the sale for them at market price. in a falling market best for them to sell quickly which could flood the market and get it all over and done with quickly.
- Prices starting to fall may create some buying hesitation increasing volume of houses on the market and thereby lowering pricing further.

Some good can come of this all of course, it shouldn't be all bad news.

For most New Zealanders a 40% drop in home value will not really impact them, they didn't buy in the last 3 years (the value will be back to what is was, no big deal). Sorry i don't know what the percentage of houses sold from the total in the period, for those that brought and sold in the same market there should not be too much pain. They may not feel as rich but they may also be breathing better knowing their kids and grand kids will be able to continue living here too.

For long term housing investors, again much the same as most New Zealanders they didn't buy their entire portfolio in the last 3 years, they will be fine.

For the short term investors and speculators, they will be impacted, the smart ones will already be trying to get out or will have already done so, the stupid and overly greedy will pay the price, this is natural and part of every bubble. So no problem...

The main pain will be felt by those that just arrived or felt they needed to buy in the current market regardless of the obvious risk. Some government assistance may be required to protect this specific group.

What, like Robin Hood ?

19
up

Similar (or worse?) problem in Australia, as recently reported in "The Shovel"......

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the Australian MP’s dream of having a double-digit property portfolio is becoming out of reach, with some younger politicians owning as few as two investment homes.

Mr Cormann – who owns just five properties – told a parliamentary enquiry that more had to be done to give struggling politicians a leg-up. “What we’re seeing is the creation of the haves and the have-nots,” Mr Cormann said. “You’ve got someone like Barry O’Sullivan who owns 33 properties, but then others who realistically have no way to break into the 10-house club”.

He said he was hearing more and more from his colleagues about life on struggle street. “I was speaking to George Brandis the other day – he owns just three houses with no real prospects of expanding on that in the immediate term. So we really need to look at policies we can implement to help people like George”.

I note that Barfoots only sold 101 properties from 314 that went to auction, between April 10-21. Can someone explain this ' demand 'and supply shortage meme. FHB have been priced out of the Auckland market for more than a decade. The very fact that home ownership rates have been falling for many years , puts all these pointless 'affordability ' reports in the out pile.

>"FHB have been priced out of the Auckland market for more than a decade."

You mean in terms of international measures such as multiples of incomes?

Because ten years ago houses were definitely a lot more affordable for a lot more people.

The combining of incomes for affordability purposes is a bad model. All affordability issues including housing should be completed on an individuals earnings not joint incomes. Flipping from 1 income to 2 as being an acceptable measure hides created inflation and government spending.

I think the loss of individual rights is now openly displayed for all to see.......we are forcing partnerships when partnerships are meant to be about freedom of choice.....

Yes I totally agree with you. I am puzzled why the reported stats are mainly for two people (plus kids) as I know there are a lot of single people out there who are looking to get into the property ladder too. We shouldn't assume that every individual should enter into a joint income situation.

Huh; a comment by you that I actually agree with :) Wonders never cease.

Yeah, it's like everyone assumes that single people never aspire to buy property, and only couples do it. As a single mid-20s guy I would never buy a property with another person as there is far too many variables to contend with.

12
up

Yup, I had a double-take when I saw it was a DGZ comment too. It seems the Auckland housing crisis has pushed us properly into the twilight zone. The fact that in order to buy a property in Auckland we need to combine incomes just to spend one person’s share on financing our loans means we have completely departed from fundamentals. I can understand this kind of craziness in over populated cities like Hong Kong but here, were we have 5 million people in a landmass greater the UK, it’s completely inexcusable.

Exactly, I lived in Weybridge in UK 30 mins from London Waterloo, nice area. There are some obscene prices but there are also prices that are cheaper then Waiuku where Im from in the middle of no where and lots of land. Its an hours drive from Auckland.

Its nuts.

There is no Debt big enough to thank out Dear and Expensive Lords and Masters for.

We must abide by their wishes, no ticky tacky boxes, here, Never, no more.

That is long past...as was the largess in humongous interest rates and taxes we used to pay to keep the Party going.

Now it is larger sums of money, and little interest..heavily leveraged, .amounts to the same thing, as all inflated egos can attest. We have the biggest costs to thank our saviors for.

And the meanest interest rates, we ever screwed em for.

Those in charge, should be charged with treason...and counterfeiting..and puffing up prices,.and theft as a servant...The signs are building.

They may reap their rewards in Hell, but NZ is not the Heavenly place it used to be...when you could knock up a simple house, in a simple way and simply...do it...yourself. To cut costs and overheads.

I might add.can you subtract, Plus GST, of course.

Funny that. Nick Smith loses responsibility for the Government's Crown land building programme and the Tamaki redevelopment ,breaks rank and mentions "the housing crisis". Bill English won't be happy.

Nick said he didn't think the responsibilities were taken away from him because he wasn't perceived as having done a good job to tackle the housing crisis.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/91894039/nick-smith-reflects-on...

The problems that have been created in Auckland’s housing market are now long term and structural.

Nah, just reduce the amount of land around Auckland we are banned from building on from 90% to 75%.

Easy quick fix, achievable below budget and with minimal delay - but only if Phil Goff develops a spine.

However there is a time clock in effect, if the property market in Australia corrects there will be a large oversupply of low cost homes (mostly apartments) throughout Australasia. At that point things become structural and long term for Auckland, as everyone young and ambitious is going to leave for better places.

By mid-2019, then we might have to start calling it structural.

24
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In three years the median working income has increased only 6.9% or just over 2%/year yet we are being fed this line about about the need for the worlds highest immigration rate to satisfy our chronic shortage of workers; skilled and unskilled. One would imagine this shortage would manifest itself in high and rising wages and powerful incentives to increase labour productivity. You would expect that Aussie based Kiwis and Aussies would rapidly fill those jobs thanks to our common labour market - no work visa required. You would expect our beneficiary army would be keen to get off the couch and into a job now that there is an actual incentive to do so.
But no, all we've got are the gridlocked cities, overcrowded unaffordable housing, overflowing sewers and rubbish pay thanks to a dangerously misguided immigration policy focused on quantity not quality.
God help us if this next recession is a bad one.

Greg, with respect,we all know that Auckland is unaffordable for first home buyers and also not good buying for true investors!
NZ housing is NOT unaffordable in most areas away from Auckland.
Nothing is going to change in Auckland in regards to affordability in the next few years.
If prices crashed in Auckland which I doubt, then I beleive that Banks won't be lending on them!

Why do you continually ignore the fact that the places in NZ were houses are more affordable are areas where there are extremely few high quality and high paying jobs? How many engineers, lawyers, geologists, civil servants, IT workers and so on are able to find jobs that pay above the minimum wage in places like Gore, Invercargill or Whakatane? Not everyone wants to be on $40k for their entire life living in a $300k house in the middle of the wops.

Lots of high income folk in those places you mention Wildcard. Just maybe just doing things you can't.

12
up

Well, those high income people more than likely have established jobs with a decent sized career. I'm a graduate with 3 years of experience competing with the massive amount of other graduates and also immigrants with 5+ years of experience who will undercut my desired salary by upwards of $10k.

Agree.

Most of those would be Business Owners and maybe Farmers.

You cant just start a business in any old area and earn $100K or more it takes time, experience, money and nous. Not easy for average joe.

No one said it was gong to be easy...

The level of income is less important than what you have left over after your fixed and variable costs. earning a 100k with 700k in debt and high cost may make you poor while earning 50k with 200k in debt and lower costs may give you a good life.

less is more...

Its the old supply and demand thing so I guess you're right; the higher city prices reflect greater demand but I think you're being misleading with the wages thing. There is not a huge difference with pay; the young first home buyer cohort as per the research above was $1605/week for Auckland regional and $1502/week for BOP/Waikato for example. The 1st Q. houses were $735,200 and $366,500 respectively.
I'm sure you'll be sneering but I live in the Bay of Islands, Kerikeri, just a small town, the wop wops even but she's a good life and everyone seems happy. The place is getting a bit crowded lately with all the disaffected Aucklanders though. Each to his own but you won't find many around here envious of Auckland.

Well, Auckland has a much larger population, ergo a much larger supply of job vacancies. BoP/Waikato may be more affordable, but how many job vacancies are there there?

Nope, definitely not sneering. If you live in the Bay of Islands and you're happy there, then props and respect to you. Personally, I don't have the luxury of picking and choosing where I work as I only have 3 years of graduate experience and have to accept whatever I can. Unfortunately, this means Auckland or Wellington as that's where all the vacancies in my field are located.

Agreed, I would love to live up in BoP and have been thinking about ways to make that happen. But I love what I do and what I do places me in Auckland with Wellington as a very distant maybe. And to be honest, Wellington isn't a real choice because my family is here in Auckland. So if not Auckland then option B is leave NZ.

Sorry wildcard, I was not intending to get personal and fully accept the difficulty you and others like you are no doubt having making a go of things in Auckland.
While there are more job vacancies in the city there are also more job seekers so, apart from your highly specialised type of job, for the more typical type of work there is no real net difference in opportunities and pay in some of the smaller areas as the quoted statistics show. BTW we do have lawyers and engineers and civil servants up here making a good living but the thing I notice is the number of self employed. A lot of these folk are running businesses via the web to the world and I think that's great. For those of us that remember, it's more like the really wealthy, dynamic towns of fifty years ago.

It's said (ok ok - I can't find the reference) that Auckland works for employee mindset types who function best in structured environments - ie they are corporate cannon fodder. And the other places are best for the entrepreneurs. Which reinforces what David George is seeing in Keri Keri.

No offensive taken or given :) Not a problem.

Yup, more job seekers, but if you're applying for jobs anywhere and everywhere and can locate then that's not a problem. Only people who can't afford to move/don't want to move look for jobs in their immediate area. Myself and a lot of graduates like me are capable of uprooting and chasing jobs as we tend not to be married/have families and have far less circumstances holding us in one place.

I've also noticed the self employed/small business owners in the regions, but they tend to be a lot older (50+) and can do that due to their career length and having a skillset honed over 30 years in the workforce. I could be completely wrong though.

Zilch job vacancies. Same here, I live in Wellington because I have to for work. I have looked for work even as broadly as all of South Island let alone near where my wife would like us to be and nothing for 15 odds years.

Zilch Job vacancies?
This is what I genuinely don't get, aren't we supposed to be having some sort of labour/skills crises yet our Kiwis can't get jobs where they want to or can afford to live and now a new record number of new arrivals. Wildcard says his job is being undercut by desperate immigrants who are at the same time pushing housing out of his reach. And we benefit from this how exactly.

Much of the 'crisis' is down to employers offering low pay, long hours, casual/part time work and little job security. Kiwis want a decent day's pay for a decent day's work, and if employers don't offer that then Kiwis won't be interested in the job being offered.

A NZ employer would rather hire an Indian bloke with 15 years of IT experience, work him 50 hours a week and pay him $40k (which is a hell of a lot better than what he would get back home) than hire a graduate with 0 to 5 years experience and pay them $40k. It's a case of more bang for your buck.

That's coupled with the lack of cadetships/apprenticeships/internships to get your foot in the door or get experience and you end up with a pile of graduates on the Jobseekers benefit or stacking shelves or going to the UK, the USA, Aus etc. The best thing any young Kiwi can do is go overseas for work.

Im Jealous :).

I don't think there is a sliver bullet to stop the situation in it's tracks, tax ideas and immigration constraints may help slightly. All I can say is there is an increasingly large gap between available houses and people to live in them. If we are not building enough houses then there simply will be pressure mounting for years to come on whatever population is still based here, whether it's the increasing foreign immigrant or the increasing number of births we are experiencing now (home grown). No matter the tax situation around property people will always use it as an investment, how they invest may be slightly different, but it is still viable in other countries that have tax systems in place around CG and land! There is also an underlying growing need for a house as a home not an investment. So I ask what is being done to increase housing supply? It is no silver bullet and we are at a perfect storm on all fronts, however the basic need to house people with a huge increasing number and a lack of homes surely puts pressure on the market to extraordinary levels....and will continue to do so. Existing houses being dumped on the market may still not be enough to house the growing population for years to come. The bubble may soften, but if we do not have enough houses in years to come what's to say we won't reach another "bubble" worst than the current!
History shows we will be going through cycles for years to come, how bad, may be dependant on our course of action regarding supply of housing!

if you buy AKL house using NZ income, of course it's unaffordable! The problem is lots of the fund are from overseas and AKL is still very cheap compare to any major cities counting 35% of its national GDP. You can stop the immigration but you can't ever stop the money flow. Money talks in real world.

Vancouver has seen the foreign purchase stamp duty work well. This is a good place to start. 15-20% stamp duty on purchases by non-citizens / PRs.

Auckland is about 10-15 year behind Vancouver in terms of social development and demographic integration. Overseas money in flow is small in Auckland compare to Vancouver. In other words, Auckland is not that attractive yet so the duty is still a long way off.

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That sounds a bit made-up. There's no reason to assume foreign money inflows have not been a major factor here, identified as they have been by many in the building and real estate industries.

May as well put the stamp duty in place and see eh.

Why not ban foreign non citizen buyers, better than a stamp duty as the impact is direct. tap is closed rather than still partly open.

There is no added value for New Zealanders, if a non citizen, non resident buys property here.

A real estate agent may make some commission from the transaction, but they would make this from selling to a local resident.

you may get more for your house but when you want to buy the new house to live in it has gone up to. no benefit there either.

I think it is hard to conclude the Vancouver changes have "worked well" - if "worked well" means a return to affordable housing for the locals. It hasn't happened, and it doesn't look like it is about to happen.

In March the median Vancouver house price (Greater Vancouver) was C$1,489,400 (NZ$1,583,600), while the median apartment price was C$537,400 (NZ$571,400). These are levels far above Auckland.

The March data says prices are -1% lower than this time last year - not a meaningful move although it is progress that they are not still going up fast.

Maybe what they have after the regulatory moves are the same high prices but with new extra costs. Sellers are stepping back in this market. Low supply will keep their prices very high.

>" if "worked well" means a return to affordable housing for the locals"

Well, yes, it's not a silver bullet to return things instantly to an affordable level, but I think the nature of silver bullets is that like utopias, they're not real.

However, -1% is far better than +20%, and if prices remain stalled for a longer term that makes houses a worse investment vehicle, so you'd expect money that's in them for investment purposes to ultimately move elsewhere.

Moreover, it also suggests investors need not worry about a stamp duty halving the value of their portfolios, so shouldn't object to it...right?

Whoa , there Mr Chaston, the benchmark Vancouver price is $919300 loonies , the REINZ Auckland median is $890,000 NZD, and Barfoots average is $968000 (NZD equivalent to $909000 loonies on today's exchange rate.) New Zealand mortgage debt metrics are significantly worse than Canada.

Sydney prices are up close to 20% over the past year. NSW has had stamp duty and capital gains tax in place forever. It does nothing to influence supply demand economics, it simply generates tax revenues. That perhaps may be a good thing one could argue, yet still doesn't solve affordability.

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The fact that property in NZ is unafordable to NZers is horrific. Ban foreigners from buying NZ property. Problem solved.

House price too high for locals is not unusual internationally. Being living in NZ, we should all get used to this kind of rip off. From seafood/milk to branded clothes, electronics. That's why we need to get the best out of education and head overseas for opportunities and wealth then come back to raise a family or retirement. The world now is so competitive any complacency will result dropping from "middle class" to underclass within a matter of generations.

That ban would need to include all countries buying property in NZ as otherwise it violates some FTAs.

For example Article 139 of the China FTA requires that investors of [China] be treated no less favourably than investors of any third country [Australia] “with respect to admission, expansion, management, conduct, operation, maintenance, use, enjoyment and disposal” of investments.

This TPP was signed by Phil Goff back in 2007. So you see no political party really cares about FHB's.

Signing that agreement without any means of a backdoor was totally irresponsible and the government should be held accountable for negligence

Labour were having a lacklustre 3rd term so they needed the FTA signed before the next election. Same with buying back the railways. All purely political to gain votes.

So they made two hugely expensive vote buying announcements then blew it by announcing they would regulate the types of light bulbs and shower heads people could use in their houses.

I suppose that is what you get when you have spineless cowards running the country and a general population with an average IQ probably dropping below 85 voting.

We may be able to sign a regional agreement with aus that under WTO gazumps the china FTA but then why would the Ausies cooperate with us, they tthink we have an unhealthy interest in sheep.
Farmers have a lot to answer for...

Surely we have some sort of leverage with the fact that the Aussies can come here and claim all sorts of benefits.

Well, probably not
The Aussies by their ability to extract their wealth from the ground, and they have a lot of ground, have the advantage.
But they are stilll our cuzzies.
At least Dunedin/Invercargill were occupied by people from the SA /VIC goldfields.

I have a plan of attack, we probably don't need the Aussies as much now. We could let Trump know we are building our own wall, he will then be best buddies with us and import all our timber considering he has fallen out with the Canadians and slapped a huge tariff on their timber. The UK probably needs a few friends as well.

Nope. The fta with China left us able to do something about foreign buyers, the one that screwed it was actually the one with South Korea that left us unable to stop them from buying our houses which we then had to then offer to China. Our previous agreement with Australia was not something we had to offer the same conditions of, including house/land sales. It was not "the" or "a" TPP, it was the China free trade agreement. When it comes to who set us on the path of not being able to control our own housing market, the blame is firmly and squarely at National's feet and the signing of the South Korea fta.

I think you are correct, I seem to remember being upset with all the Labour supports marching in the streets until I realized they probably had some valid reasons for concern. More fool me for backing National

If that is correct then let us reneg
Who cares about South Korea.
Collateral damage.

With all the war talk with the DPRK they may not be around for too long, though I will miss Korean pancakes, my Samsung phone and Psy

If that is correct then let us reneg
Who cares about South Korea.
Collateral damage.

plus forced divestment, given them 1 year to sell or do it for them.

I don't understand why a first time buying couple aged 25 to 29 would need a house worth 735 K unless they had children. Average age for a nuptial first child is 32 and rising.
You can get a decent 2 bed apartment right in the heart of the city for 500K.
Sure the deposit is hard to get, but it was for us in the 1980's too. Not much different.

Something is wrong with your assumptions here. A 735k wouldn't get you a house it would get you a flat within 1 hour commute of the CBD and it would still be a dump. As for a "decent" 500k 2 bed apartment. I think you are looking at leasehold properties (which no one should buy in NZ). Look for freehold and in the CBD and you are looking as 500k studios.

As for why would a 25-29 couple want a house, because they plan to have a family and they are doing the smart thing and setting up there home before there first child.

I bought my first home nearly two years ago....and what i paid for what i bought has put me atleast 10 years behind financially....i wont get these years back.....instead of enjoying my prime I am wasting it repaying an excessive mortgage and interest.....
my brother lives in Florida and paid a third for his house (twice my house in size) and only has a 15 yr mortgage...that too fixed for 15 yrs...at current low rates...
it is a sad state overall...

sam.dhar I'm sorry to hear you're not happy with your purchase. I believe we're all responsible for our own choices. Nobody forced you to buy the house you bought. If your brother is so much better off in Florida maybe you should go there ?

That is a sad comment and lacks empathy.

He\She doesnt have a choice for the house price increases, thats the governments failure. But like most people he\she sees house prices sky rocket so may want to get on the ladder, before its completely out of reach. He\She may have family here, lived here all their life, love it here, and love the lifestyle. Their partner may want their kids to go to school here.

But you say he\she made this decision, so has no recourse in complaining about how property prices have increased out of reach because a rubbish government has allowed unchecked immigration and unchecked foreign investment. Plus banking have lent money at obscene multiples.

Why dont we just have a dictator run our country so we dont vote, have no rights and cant complain. Just accept what is thrown our way.

Or hey move to a different country. Yeah kick out decent NZers, and bring in replacements, change our culture. This is just like muskets and blankets but in a different form. Great country we have where NZers cant even live in their own country, and home town.

Wildcard, sorry to hear about your so-called plight.
Everyone has a choice and if you prefer to live in Auckland then you have to accept the limitations that it holds.
I think you will find that there are plenty of better opportunities around the country than you think.
Yes Auckland has plenty of jobs available because there are many in Auckland that aren't prepared to work, but that is another storey.
Fortunately I don't need to compete in the workforce nowadays but from the people I know, they all own their own home and cope very well financially, so maybe it is an Auckland thing, all,this moaning!

Yes, it is an Auckland thing, or at least it seems the most pronounced here. But its flawed to think the world is the way it is and we can't change it. The state of the housing market is not normal and we're not moaning, angry and getting angrier about it.

Yeah but Auckland didn't have those limitations 5 years ago. Not everyone can up and leave. Imgaine that if 500,000 people left.

We need to do something about it, not tell people to suck eggs.

Actually in future people will not be able to move to and work in other countries as we used to, mainly Australia and Great Britain as they are tightening their rules and putting in restrictions. The great OE for all and sundry could be a thing of the past.

Personally I have no desire to live in Auckland as I find it a crowded and congested city with a high cost of living, and if I had a choice I would never live there. The jobs I look for are never location-specific, and I search for them everywhere in NZ. Unfortunately, as almost all of the job vacancies I find are located in Auckland, it is more than likely I will have to bite the bullet and move. The only other alternative is to be on the Jobseekers benefit until a suitable vacancy pops up somewhere else; which is also very undesirable, not to mention humiliating and degrading.

The cluster of vacancies in Auckland is also increased by people leaving the regions as they can't afford to live there. So I'd be amusingly moving to somewhere unafordable and filling the shoes of someone who is leaving because it's unafordable.

As for not competing in the workforce, if I had a choice I'd be a property/share trader magnate with a decent size passive income and spend my time travelling the world and doing stuff I want to do rather than stuff I have to do! Maybe one day it'll happen, but until then I have to keep working hard and try to get ahead.

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FHB kicked out of housing market in Auckland.

Mission accomplished - National Government.

This is what most kiwi voted for so ............Never too late...........Election not far away and national will try all trick to woo only to get vote and than the mission will be rest of NZ.

Think and Vote

HGTV last Thursday had a couple buy 20 acres for 120k and build a 7 bedroom,6 bathroom,8000 sq foot home for 850k.
Typical Big Sky country home at a price that leaves me asking,how come so cheap.

Not sure, but I think it does pay to check on the age of some of these programmes being shown

2015

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I am ashamed to be a New Zealander. The only people that can afford a house in this country are overseas purchasers and the very wealthy. The average Kiwi will have no other choice than to live in slums created by Labour or live on the street under National. We have become second class citizens in our own country. Simple solution only give visas to builders and people sponsored by employers.

Ashamed yes.........but should be for voting National.

Everyone should support and promote change the government.

National should realise that they cannot take average Kiwi for a ride all the time.

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I will never vote for National again as long as I live, in fact there should be riots on the street I'll organise the banners, would anyone like to join me? By the way I am not a snowflake

It is not that bad. There are a lot of us in Auckland who have bought over 10 years ago and while we can't afford to re-buy our own homes now, we don't have a huge mortgage to worry about. I do feel very sorry for the newer generation trying to get into the property ladder because it is not going to be easy unless you have family assistance e.g. gifting. House prices will need to stop going up for a while so that people can catch up and to have the security of living in their own homes.

Don Brash has said for a normal price to income ratio the Auckland housing market would need to stop going up for 50 years to allow wages (at current annual growth) to catch up.

@delboy ...... I doubt this will happen , the market has a habit of sorting itself out quite quickly when just one of the variables change .

That variable could be interest rates , immigration changes , new land supply ( subdivisions) or something else

What happened to this -

http://easyfreight.co.nz/blog/import-building-materials-duty-free/

and if it still exists, why isn't it being passed on to the public? Though I don't really need to ask that

Sydney prices are up close to 20% over the past year. NSW has had stamp duty and capital gains tax in place forever. It does nothing to influence supply demand economics, it simply generates tax revenues. That perhaps may be a good thing one could argue, yet still doesn't solve affordability.

Low stamp duty wont solve anything agree... that is why it has to be HIGH. 15% plus like Vancouver.

Wake up of course if you increase the cost demand will eventually drop. 101 Economics

Plus the TAX will benefit NZ as last time I checked they need money to pay for the infrastructure that is lacking.

Define "low stamp duty", a dollar, a thousand dollars, perhaps to Bill Gates its a million dollars? Or perhaps arbitrary percentages lazily copied and pasted from a completely different geopolitical part of the world make better sense to you? Economics 101 is based on principals of supply and demand, which in turn drives cost. The infrastructure discussion you call out would be better framed from a cost benefit perspective, where not shortage of capital to support funding is core to the discussion, but in fact the social and economic return of what that capital is invested in is core to the discussion.
Wake up indeed!

This is ****Easy**** to fix in any number of ways. The government just doesn't want to because baby boomers still outnumber gen X,Y and therefore have the popular vote.

Why do we need all these immigrants? Someone has to pay for the baby boomers pensions!

Best answer for gen X,Y? Leave and find a place which doesn't have the dice stacked against you.

National = Do Nothing for 9 years and expect to be voted in.

Vote change

They are going to get in again mate because the alternative is just plain frightening. Voting just for the sake of change is going to be a disaster. There is no viable single opposition party and if you have to cobble together 3 or 4 other parties to form that opposition, NZ is going to come to a grinding halt. Basically National will watch the polls, if they need to pull a card out from their sleeve it will be to suddenly announce they are slashing immigration a few weeks out from the election. They will promise just enough to slide in again.

>They are going to get in again mate because the alternative is just plain frightening.

National have been very effective in pushing that line since the last election.

But I would predict an alternative coalition will be basically as stable as National, Maori, Act and the Minister for Bowties. They'll just be a bit more likely to have some actual policies to address the housing crisis, surely the single biggest issue facing NZ today and one all the more remarkable for National's refusal to acknowledge its very existence.

I agree, places like the nzherald are constantly pushing that kind of rhetoric, simply because they are a lowest common denominator opinion modulation tool. The 'frightening' aspect is not based on any objective or historical basis.

WHY .............. is the Government not transparent with us about immigration ?

Why are these eye watering numbers just sprung on us each month ?

How many Visa's have been approved where the recipient has not yet arrived in the country ?
How many immigrants are we to expect between now and December 2017?
How many applications for work visa' and PR have they received each month in the past year
How many work visas have been approved and taken up ?
How many have been approved and not yet taken up ?

Does it not dawn on the Beehive that we need to know these numbers so we can make decisions regarding investment , construction , employment , training and recruitment decisions and a host of other factors .?

Boatman, see the case of the foreign home buyer statistics to be assured that someone somewhere will put it on their todo list.

I am not sure its foreign ( non resident) buyers causing the problems ............ we have so many migrants that want houses , and that in itself is probably the driver

Yeah especially since rents are trending up I would agree.

I was referring to the obfuscation of foreign buyer data, and the inability to resolve it, as a potential parrallel example of why we don't have good data.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/318323/foreign-home-buyer-inform...

That is a strange article. The headline says Perth property prices have gone down 40% since the peak but the article mentions no such thing. I have done a bit of searching around for data concerning Perth property prices and cannot find anything that corroborates this claim. Very misleading headline!