Values and affordability rise

Northlanders snap up properties in $150,000 to $250,000 bracket

Housing affordability and house values are on the rise in Northland.

The latest Roost home loan affordability figures show national home affordability improved across most of New Zealand in April as median house prices fell, slightly offsetting rises in floating mortgage rates.

The report measured the percentage of after-tax pay needed to service an 80 per cent mortgage on a median-priced house.


Whangarei affordability improved from 43.9 per cent in March to 42.1 per cent in April, compared with 42.5 per cent a year ago.

According to latest Real Estate

Institute of New Zealand figures, the median house price in Northland rose from $309,000 to $347,500 in the month to April.

The figures coincide with hundreds of affordable homes listed for sale and within reach of first-time buyers with the right financial knowledge.

An analysis of property website, and others, reveals more than 1100 homes listed for sale across Northland for $300,000 or less as of May 15. In today's paper, about 120 of those homes are featured on pages 12 and 13.

Earlier this week, Whangarei Barfoot and Thompson branch manager Martin Dear advised first home buyers to discuss options with their bank and seek mortgage pre-approval, so they could go out shopping.

Smart buyers should buy now, he said, to beat the rush when the lending restrictions eventually eased, which is forecast to begin by the year's end.

"Right now there's less opposition."

The average weekly after-tax pay for those on a median Whangarei income was $822, up from $799.80 in April last year.

Roost also released a further report this week showing it would take 39.1 per cent of a Whangarei first home buyer's median take-home pay to service a mortgage on a lower-quartile priced house, up from 37.7 per cent in March.

New Zealand Home Loans Whangarei business owner David Taylor said he had noticed a difference between vendor asking prices, and the end price properties sold for.

"You get guys asking for $200,000 and they settle for $185,000 - there's quite a difference. That is happening because people have had houses on the market for a long time."

However, most properties were selling fast in the $150,000-$250,000 price bracket, in contrast to the higher end of the market where fewer buyers could afford to service loans.

Nationally, it now takes nearly two-thirds of a median income to pay the mortgage on a $432,250 median-priced house at 62 per cent, down from 63.1 per cent in March, but up from 56 per cent a year ago.

The Roost figures were released in the wake of last week's Budget, which was criticised by Labour for offering little to first home buyers.

The sole new home affordability measure was the temporary suspension of tariffs and duties on building products, reducing the cost of a standard new home by about $3500.