Housing affordability has taken centre stage in election year as both major parties attempt to woo first-home buyers shut out of the housing market.

At a conference in Manukau yesterday, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern spoke about how difficult it was for people to get onto the housing ladder in Auckland, saying the average price was now $1 million.

The Herald double-checked that claim to see how accurate it is.

Claim: The average house of a home in Auckland is $1 million (Labour leader Jacinda Ardern)
The facts: Quotable Value data for July shows that the average house price in Auckland is $1,044,303.

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It passed $1 million for the first time in September and has remained above that threshold since. In Auckland's eastern suburbs, the average is as high as $1.5 million.

For someone making a political point about how unaffordable Auckland housing is, the average is a convenient figure.

It is skewed by large properties which sell for multiple millions, and does not reflect the fact that house prices are flattening in the city.

The median house value is considered a more accurate guide.

Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) data shows that the median house price in Auckland in July was $830,000 (down 1.2 per cent on the previous month) - still relatively out of reach for many first home buyers but well short of the million-dollar mark.

The median of mid-$800,000s doesn't quite have the same ring as the $1 million Auckland house - which is likely why Ardern quotes the average.

REINZ's house price index, which measures the changing value of property in the market, says Auckland house values fell 2.1 per cent in the last year.

Conclusion: Fact, though a slightly misleading one.

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