How did house prices in New Zealand become so expensive? Herald housing reporter Ben Leahy and data specialist Chris McDowall track the national and main city averages and explain some of the key events of the last 40 years.
New Zealand is in a housing crisis as prices rise faster than pay packets and Kiwis increasingly find it hard to buy a home in our cities.
A typical Kiwi worker now needs nine years to save a deposit, while an Aucklander needs 11 years – leading the nation's biggest city to be regularly ranked among the developed world's most unaffordable.
Affordability – as measured by the average house price to household income – hit its worst point in at least 17 years recently, as house prices jumped more than 20 per cent since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic one year ago. The Herald's data partner Valocity now puts the median Auckland house price at just under $1 million, while other forecasters use an even higher estimate.
There are fears the hot property market will hurt the nation's economy long term and widen inequality, leaving the one-third of Kiwis now renting as a lost generation.
That's why the Herald is today relaunching Home Truths, a breakthrough series on affordable housing which first highlighted the problem and pushed politicians into action in 2016.
Over the coming weeks and months, we'll analyse the causes of the crisis, explore possible solutions and hear from the many New Zealanders who feel locked out of the housing market.
And if you'd like to share your story of trying to buy a home - or why you'd like to buy one, but can't – please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you.
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Of course our housing crisis didn't happen overnight - it's been developing for decades.
To see how we got to this point, scroll through the interactive timeline below, which traces some of the major changes over the last 40 years. Follow overall New Zealand house prices on the main dotted line or use the dropdown box on the right to see how prices have changed in our main cities. Simply click on a region/city, and scroll down the page - the graph stays in place at the top of the page and updates as you scroll through the years.