Despite efforts by the central bank to manage soaring house prices, owning their first home is further out of reach for young New Zealanders, according to a new survey of housing affordability out Monday.

Home affordability fell nationwide by 7.6 per cent for the year ending in May, says a report from Massey University's Real Estate Analysis Unit Home.

The average annual wage increase of NZ$34.53 was not enough to offset the median house price increase of NZ$38,000, according to report author Professor Bob Hargreaves.

He says that affordability is likely to continue to fall as the recent interest rate increases are incorporated into the debt servicing costs for home mortgages.

The national affordability index in the quarter ending in May, fell by 4.5 percent compared with a 2.8 percent improvement in the previous quarter.

The least affordable regions were Auckland and Canterbury, incorporating the two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch.

The release of the report coincides with the latest release of government statistics showing consents for new home construction had leveled off in recent months and had fallen by 4.6 percent in May.

"The trend for new dwellings has been increasing for three years, but is still 28 percent below the series peak in 2004," Statistics New Zealand business indicators manager Neil Kelly said in a statement.

Figures showed that the number of consents for new dwellings was at its highest level since 2007, but Housing Minister Nick Smith said there was "no magic bullet" to deal with the country's housing problems.

New dwelling consents issued for the year to May totalled 22,859, the highest rate of consents issued in seven years, confirming that a boom that is underway in the construction industry, said Smith.

He reiterated that import tariffs on a range of building products would be temporarily suspended from July 1 and are expected to reduce housing costs and increase competition in the residential construction sector.

"The building materials covered by the tariff suspension comprise about 90 percent of the cost of the materials in an average new house. Currently, these materials attract tariffs and duties that add an estimated 3,500 NZ dollars (3,055 U.S. dollars) to the cost of a new home. These will be cut to zero percent tomorrow for at least the next five years," he said.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has voiced concerns that soaring housing prices pose a threat to the stability of the country's finance sector.

The RBNZ introduced loan-to-value ratios on mortgage lending last October and has raised the official cash rate three times this year by 25 basis points to bring it to 3.25 percent. The RBNZ have indicated that there will be further rises.

Source: China.org.cn