Key Points:

It became easier to buy a home in Waikato-Bay of Plenty, Southland and parts of Otago in the three months to May 31.

That's the good news for house hunters in the latest quarterly report on home affordability from Massey University's Property Foundation. The bad news is that in eight other regions houses became less affordable so the national measure of home affordability worsened by 4 per cent in the quarter and 11.9 per cent in the year to May.

Overall, an increase in the national median house price outstripped increases in the average weekly wage and mortgage interest rates to make homes less affordable in the quarter.

But fluctuations are emerging between regions. There was a 6.6 per cent improvement in the measure of home affordability in the May quarter in Central Otago-Lakes, while Southland improved 4.8 per cent, Otago 2.2 per cent and Waikato-Bay of Plenty 0.2 per cent.

By comparison, the regions to show an improvement in affordability in the February quarter were Otago (5.6 per cent), Nelson-Marlborough (5.4 per cent), Taranaki (2 per cent) and Wellington (0.4 per cent).

The declines in home affordability in the May quarter were: Northland (5.8 per cent), Auckland (5.2 per cent), Canterbury-Westland (4.9 per cent), Wellington (2.8 per cent), Taranaki (2.6 per cent), Manawatu-Wanganui (2.4 per cent), Nelson-Marlborough (2.2 per cent) and Hawkes Bay (0.6 per cent).

The largest decline in home affordability on an annual basis was in Southland (26.8 per cent), followed by Wellington (18.3 per cent) and Manawatu-Wanganui (16.9 per cent).

- NZPA