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Buying a house to become easier as house prices, mortgage interest rates fall – report

Buying a house could be getting easier nationwide, according to a new home affordability report.

Findings by Massey University have revealed that declining prices and falling mortgage interest rates have led to more affordable housing nationally.

"Overall, at the national aggregate level, affordability improved by 2.6 per cent in the most recent quarter, which follows two previous quarters of modest improvements,” said report author Arshad Javed from Massey's School of Economics and Finance.

However, the report, which covers June to August 31, shows mixed results at the regional level.

"Half of the 16 regions have shown improved affordability over the quarter, while the other half have shown declines," Mr Javed said.

"Most of this is being driven by house price fluctuations, including in Auckland where the median house price declined by $40,000, resulting in an 8 per cent improvement in affordability for the region."

Gisborne also showed a significant improvement in affordability, which showed a 12.2 per cent improvement after an 11.7 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

Twelve out of the 16 regions showed an increase in median house prices in the most recent quarter, which was partially offset by lower interest rates, according to the report. The impact of incomes varied across regions.

"Interest rates went down by 0.11 per cent to 4.67 per cent, which is a return to the medium-term trend of interest rate reductions," he said.

"Overall, incomes increased slightly by 0.6 per cent, with the direction of change evenly split across all 16 regions. This ranged from a 2.3 per cent decrease in Taranaki to an 8.8 percent increase in Tasman."

Despite a 4.7 per cent decrease in median house price in the most recent quarter, Auckland remains the country's least affordable region, while the West Coast is the country's most affordable region.

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Massey University’s Arshad Javed joined Breakfast to discuss the report’s findings. Source: Breakfast


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