It's easier to afford a home in Northland now than it was in 1985, a Whangarei real estate boss says.

Roost's latest home-loan affordability report has revealed Whangarei improved from 39.9 per cent in July to 39.3 per cent in August, as competition between banks eases the pressure on mortgage payments nationwide.

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

Year-on-year figures also show an improvement from 40.6 per cent in August last year.

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Whangarei's average weekly pay cheque after tax for people aged 30-34 is now $819.53 - up from $802.96 in August last year.

Maggie Dixon Real Estate managing director Graham Lester said local housing affordability was better now than in 1985.

"When you compare the mortgage repayments as a percentage of income earned, it's actually less now than it was in 1985.

"And that's predominantly because the interest rates are so much lower."

Mr Lester didn't think house prices had dropped, but had remained stagnant over the last few years.

"We're still flat, we're still below the peak of 2007 overall."

However, wage increases in Northland also contributed to affordability, Mr Lester said.

Nationally, affordability improved for the third consecutive month as a slight rise in house prices was offset by lower interest rates and reduced mortgage payments.

Affordability improved from 61.8 per cent in July to 61.1 per cent in August, but had worsened compared with 55.9 per cent in August a year ago.

According to Roost Home Loans, competition between banks in the fixed-term mortgage market lowered average two-year fixed mortgage rates to 6.13 per cent in August from 6.33 per cent the previous month.