Worsening affordability for first-home buyers as property prices rise in most major NZ cities

The latest Housing Affordability Measure (HAM) has today been released and it's bad news for Kiwi first-home buyers as house prices in most major cities have risen.

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The results cover the time period from March 2016 up to March 2017, and in general show a decline in affordability in the major cities from the previous HAM data.

The HAM uses household-level data to compare income after housing costs of renters and potential first home buyers, to income after housing costs for the average New Zealand household in June 2013.

Worsening affordability for first-home buyers at that national level has been driven by higher house prices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga.

In the previous HAM data release, affordability in Christchurch and Wellington was improving and Auckland's affordability was largely stable.

In contrast to the property market, rental affordability was largely stable at the national level in the latest HAM.

Rental affordability improved in Auckland and Tauranga City, was flat in Hamilton City and Wellington City, but worsened in Christchurch.

Click here to explore the full report and its data.

Real estate, housing Source: 1 NEWS

Man charged over bomb scare at Te Papa that forced school ball cancellation

A 27-year-old man has been charged over a bomb scare at Te Papa which prompted the cancellation of the Wellington Girls' College school ball.

A suspicious item was found in a loading dock at Te Papa on Friday June 8 about 6pm, Police said, and the museum was evacuated.

Police cordons were put in place and specialist teams were brought in to deal with the item.

Students arriving at Te Papa were turned away and the annual school ball was cancelled.

The man appeared at court yesterday charged with wilful damage and burglary, and was remanded on bail to reappear on July 2.

A police van parked at Te Papa where officers were alerted to a suspicious item in a loading dock. Source: 1 NEWS


Avocado prices smash records as they climb to highest point in five years

The average price of an avocado has climbed to more than $5, Stats NZ says, after the price went up 37 per cent last month.

The increase in price is being blamed on a poor harvest, and in November last year the price was about $2.20.

Avocado prices tend to fluctuate annually, Stats NZ data shows, peaking in mid-winter and dropping in the summer.

The stats are measured by weight and are calculated for a 200g avocado, so the price also reflects the smaller size of fruit this year.

"Typically, avocado prices peak in July and August, as the main harvest season is from August to March," Stats NZ prices manager Matthew Haigh said.

Overall, good prices in other classes remained fairly flat, with fruit and vegetable prices down ten per cent from last year, lettuce down more than half, tomatoes down 24 per cent and broccoli down 43 per cent.

The prices for those items went up dramatically last year due to poor harvests influenced by weather.

A graph showing average avocado prices for the past five years.
A graph showing average avocado prices for the past five years. Source: Stats NZ