Buying a house in Wanganui is more affordable now than it was a year ago, as competition between banks eases the pressure on mortgage payments nationwide.
Roost's home-loan affordability report has revealed affordability in Wanganui improved from 27.6 per cent in August last year to 25.5 per cent for the same month this year.
However, this was slightly worse than the previous month, when it was 25.2 per cent.
The report measures the percentage of after-tax pay needed to service an 80 per cent mortgage on a median-priced house.
Wanganui's average weekly pay packet after tax for people aged 30-34 was now $718.59 - up from $701.67 in August last year.
Home Trust Mortgages director Robert Puklowski said property was still very affordable in Wanganui, despite a slight worsening from July to August.
House sale prices were about 10 per cent below the average valuation, he said.
"To me that suggests property values have gone down rather than up, suggesting the affordability is better.
"The property values of properties that are selling are still going down, so it's still good for buying."
However, enquiries from first-home buyers were rising.
"People are starting to realise that they don't need a 20 per cent deposit."
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.
Regions where affordability improved included Auckland Central, Manukau, Waitakere, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Porirua and Queenstown.
However, it worsened in Auckland's North Shore, Wellington, Hutt Valley, Dunedin, Nelson and Napier.
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.
Weekly mortgage payments dropped $4.48 to $505.38.
Roost Home Loans spokeswoman Colleen Dennehy said banks were competing hard for business, meaning good deals for customers.
"A broker can assist customers understand what's on offer and negotiate the best deal available."