Auckland housing affordability has improved slightly - by 1.4 per cent between last year's third quarter and the latest quarter to December, but the city is now 59 per cent less affordable than the rest of New Zealand.
The latest Massey University Home Affordability Report showed an overall improvement in national affordability of 5.7 per cent.
Author Susan Flint-Hartle said that despite continuing high values and severe unaffordability in Auckland, there has been a slight quarterly improvement of 1.4 per cent.
This means that Auckland homes are more affordable than reported in September figures and that the previous deterioration trend in affordability has slowed from 16.6 per cent to 3.7 per cent.
However, at 59 per cent less affordable than the rest of the country, the margin by which Auckland exceeds the national figure tops historical levels. Other regions remain more affordable than the national average.
The most affordable area to buy a home is Southland, closely followed by Manawatu/Whanganui and Taranaki. Areas close to Auckland like Waikato and the Bay of Plenty are less affordable, arguably because of the ripple effect of the hot Auckland market.
Despite a trend of improved affordability in consecutive quarters, there is real possibility of deterioration once again in the coming months, Flint-Hartle said.
"Recent reductions in borrowing costs and positive sentiment about a two-year hiatus in interest rises hold the potential to keep pushing house prices higher," she said.
• Annual improvement in national affordability of 8.7 per cent
• Quarterly improvement in national affordability of 5.7 per cent
• Significant quarterly improvement in Otago Central Lakes of 10.7 per cent and Nelson/Marlborough of 7 per cent
• Slight quarterly improvement in Auckland of 1.4 per cent
• Improvements reported in the September quarter have been sustained in the December quarter