New Zealand launches new housing affordability measure

by NZ Adviser19 May 2017
A new measure of housing affordability should give a clearer and more accurate insight into things are changing in New Zealand’s housing market.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment says that it will provide better data on how much New Zealanders are spending on housing, including rent and mortgages.

The measure will show whether housing is becoming more or less affordable for renters and aspiring first home buyers, broken down by local council and by ward in Auckland.

“MBIE is releasing the Housing Affordability Measure as an ‘experimental statistical series’, which means it will continue to be refined to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose and that results are robust and meaningful. We will work with Statistics New Zealand to refine the measure and get it adopted as part of the official statistics system,” said MBIE Deputy Chief Executive Building, Resources and Markets, Chris Bunny.

The measure will eventually be quarterly but the first release covers March 2003 to June 2015 and shows that affordability has been fairly stable since 2009 even though home values grew 30% during the period covered by the measure. Low interest rates have helped offset price rises.

The HAM utilises data from Statistics NZ, RBNZ and other stakeholders including CoreLogic.

“We consider that when used in conjunction with other measures/reporting, it will be a very useful tool for understanding the property and rental markets and the forces driving them,” commented CoreLogic Senior Research Analyst, Nick Goodall. 

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