Houses in many regions have taken a pay cut with stalling sales prices cutting into capital gains.

In the past few years, homes in areas including Auckland had earned more in soaring values than the average worker earned at their job.

But new figures crunched by the Herald show the trend has reversed as the housing market plateaus and quick profits dry up.

Stellar price growth has eased across much of the country, meaning people's houses are now earning less than workers' gross pay packets across most New Zealand regions.


This year the standard Kiwi home is earning more than the average worker in only two districts - Northland and the Hawke's Bay - compared to seven last year.

The Herald has analysed Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's (REINZ) median house price data against the latest Statistics New Zealand income figures to compare house price growth with wages.

It showed that in most regions workers earned more annually than the capital gain on their properties in the year to September.

Auckland's median house price remained static year-on-year at $845,000, while the average Auckland worker earned $52,520 in 2017.

In 2016, Auckland's median house price jumped $54,000 (7 per cent), slightly more than most workers earned in their jobs.

Nationally, the average home increased in price by $6226 (1.2 per cent) in the last year to $525,000.

In comparison, the average Kiwi worker earned a median annual income of $49,868 in the last year.

It's a different scenario to that witnessed at the same time last year when house prices were still soaring.


The median annual income was $48,048 in 2016 - while the median capital gain was $30,350.

Commentators have put the stalling market down to LVR loan restrictions targeting investors, tighter lending criteria from banks and uncertainty ahead of this year's general election. head of marketing Jeremy O'Hanlon said the reversal of fortunes for property owners and aspiring property owners was indicative of a cooling housing market.

"House prices move in cycles much more aggressively than wages. A major factor is property speculators jumping in as prices rise, then jumping out when it cools."

O'Hanlon said wages did not fluctuate as much because there wasn't the same demand on the job economy.

While the housing market seemed to have eased, O'Hanlon said affordability remained a "significant problem inhibiting home ownership for middle New Zealanders".

Only time would tell what impact the new Labour-NZ First government would make on the property market, he said.

Two regions bucked the trend.

In the Hawke's Bay, the median house price grew by $60,500 (18.3 per cent) to $392,000. The region's annual median income was $46,800.

In Northland the median house price grew by $56,000 (14.4 per cent) in the year to September to $446,000. The region's annual median income was $44,408.

Elsewhere in the country workers tended to earn more than their house's capital gain in the last year, and in some areas house prices fell.

In the West Coast prices dropped by $38,500 (15.6 per cent) to $208,500, compared to the annual median income in the wider region, including Nelson, Marlborough and the Tasman districts of $43,264.

Meanwhile in Wellington, workers earned $53,872 in 2017, slightly more than the $51,000 house price rise to $531,000.

Harcourts chief executive officer Chris Kennedy said the more settled market was likely the "new normal".

"We couldn't continue with the frenetic rise in value that we were seeing," he said.

However the real estate boss said while growth in prices had eased, affordability was still an issue and a supply shortage persisted.

"Affordability is nine times the median household income in Auckland. In Wellington it is five times, Nelson it is six times, Christchurch it is four almost five, and Dunedin it is almost five."

He said Labour-NZ First's planned policies, such as immigration cuts, banning foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes, and plans for new social housing would likely have an impact.

But Kennedy said the devil would be in the detail.

"It will be interesting to see what Mr Peters and Ms Ardern will do."

Huntly move wins family two houses for price of one

Englishman Mark Duval was living with his parents in Auckland until they sold up and bought two houses in Huntly. Photo / Supplied
Englishman Mark Duval was living with his parents in Auckland until they sold up and bought two houses in Huntly. Photo / Supplied

Two for the price of one was the motivation to move from Auckland to Huntly for one Englishman and his parents.

Even if it means a two-hour round trip commute for work.

Mark Duval was forced to live with his parents in a Torbay house they co-owned due to Auckland's hot property market. But when they felt the city was unbearably overcrowded they decided to sell up and move out.

They ended up with $670,000 from the Torbay sale in 2014, which they split and spent on two houses in Huntly priced at $235,000 and $245,000 each.

Duval, 57, said it was the best decision.

"I'm pretty happy with that. I'm pretty happy to be out of a busy city.

"I immigrated to New Zealand some time ago. When I first came to Auckland it was pretty unique as it wasn't overcrowded 20 years ago. It just became that way."

Duval believed his house had risen in value since he purchased it and it was probably worth double what he bought it for.

He said he would never move back to Auckland as he would only be able to afford something if he combined finances with his parents again.

Duval still works as an engineer for industrial temperature measurements in Auckland, which means he faces a long commute to work. His boss allows flexible hours so Duval works four 10-hour days, getting up at 3am every morning to start work at 5am.

He said it was tiring but he has now gotten used to it.

Duval now lives 5km from his parents and he only sees them once a week at the local Returned Services Association.