Tired of the traffic hassles and back-to-work blues? Thought of moving to Christchurch to get a better life and lifestyle? That city turns out to be by far our most affordable when incomes are compared to house prices.

Down south, the house prices are low but the incomes are high and out of eight areas just surveyed throughout New Zealand, Christchurch house-buyers have by far the best deal financially.

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That's because those living in the Garden City have an attractively low median house price of only $461,000 yet their annual median household incomes are high at $85,000 - not far from Aucklanders' incomes.

The 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 309 cities around the world showed that while Canterburians have it best, Tauranga folk have it worst.


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That Bay of Plenty city is by far our most expensive housing market when prices are compared to incomes.

Christchurch people need only 5.4 years of full annual household income to pay off their houses, compared to Tauranga folk who must use 9.3 years of annual income.

Christchurch has been declared the most affordable city in NZ. Photo / Getty Images
Christchurch has been declared the most affordable city in NZ. Photo / Getty Images

In fact, Tauranga is the world's fifth costliest housing market when prices are compared to incomes, worse than London and many major American cities, and still outstripping Auckland.

Last year, Tauranga ranked as the world's eighth lease affordable housing market so its fortunes are worsening, the results showed. The world's most expensive place to buy a house, when compared to incomes, is Hong Kong followed by Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne and then Tauranga.

Last year, the rankings were Hong Kong, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Los Angeles - and then Tauranga.

Out of the 309 least affordable cities this year, Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty was in place number 305, followed by Auckland at place number 302, Napier-Hastings at place 286, Hamilton at place 279, Dunedin at place 276, Wellington at place 275 and Christchurch at place 242.

Hugh Pavletich, a Christchurch-based survey co-author, said his city had a lot to offer to house buyers.


"Christchurch house prices are now about half Auckland levels. No wonder the Greater Christchurch population is growing faster at 2 per cent or around 10,000 people per annum compared to Auckland's 1.5 per cent or 25,000 people per annum," Pavletich said.

The flight to affordability meant people were drawn to Christchurch and earthquakes were not seen as a major deterrent to the move, he said.

"Areas like Rolleston on the good ground have proved highly resilient through the earthquakes. Not surprisingly, people and businesses are flocking there, which explains Selwyn's annual population growth," he said, citing a 5.5 per cent figure.