Affordability has improved in seven out of 13 New Zealand regions from June to August, showing an improvement in national affordability of 2.1% for the quarter, latest home affordability figures from Massey University show.

Associate Professor Graham Squires, from the School of Economics and Finance, who authored the report said this was mainly due to falling house prices in Northland, Wellington and Central Otago Lakes.

“Median house prices in Central Otago Lakes dropped the most over the last quarter, declining by $35,000.

“This was followed by Northland, where median prices dropped by $30,000, and Wellington, which experienced a $28,000 drop,” Squires said.

Despite these improvements, national affordability has still decreased by 10.5% over the past year and no region has improved in affordability over the 12-month period.

Auckland home affordability improved by 0.6% over the June to August quarter, while Central Otago Lakes improved by 3.1%. Despite this, Central Otago Lakes remains New Zealand’s least affordable region at 68% less affordable than the rest of the country, followed by Auckland at 50% less affordable.

“House price-to-wages ratios remain very high, and this continues to place considerable strain on first home buyers in Auckland and Central Otago Lakes,” Squires said.

Southland and Manawatū/Whanganui remained the country’s most affordable regions, although both have experienced declines in affordability over the quarterly and annual periods.

Northland at 11.5%, and Taranaki at 7.5%, are the regions to experience the greatest improvement in affordability.