House growth outstripping salariesSave
By Lane Nichols
The average Auckland home earned nearly $230 a day in the past year - about twice what the average worker made in their job.
It means the typical Auckland property earned about the same as an entry-level doctor or head of department teacher with responsibility for 10 staff.
But the price growth was nearly twice the pay of an entry-level nurse and $25,000 more than a constable in his fifth year as a police officer.
The Weekend Herald has analysed house prices in the country's 12 regional council areas for the 12 months to March compared to the median wage earned by workers.
Auckland was the only region where house price growth outstripped salaries.
The bog-standard Auckland home has added $83,000 in value since March 2014 - a 13 per cent jump to a median selling price of $720,000.
Latest available Statistics NZ figures show the price growth eclipsed what most people earned in their jobs. Auckland workers' median annual income last year was $46,800 (up 2 per cent), meaning the average employee's home earned nearly twice their salary if calculated over a seven-day week - $227.39 per day in capital gain compared with $128.21 in daily wages. In comparison, a first-year nurse makes just $47,000 rising to $64,000 after five years. An entry-level police constable earns a basic salary of $52,000 rising to $57,000 after five years. A first-year secondary teacher earns about $48,000 rising to $73,000 after 10 years - still less than the average Auckland home earned in 12 months.
Spiralling Auckland house prices are being driven by record immigration, a shortage of properties and low interest rates. While the market has given homeowners a sense of new-found wealth on the back of growing equity in their home, experts fear it is locking a generation permanently out of home ownership.
And though Auckland was the only region where price growth outpaced wages, national house prices jumped $35,000 (up 8 per cent) compared with a median nationwide wage of $44,720 (up 3.1 per cent).
That puts last year's national house price growth on par with the annual salary of a cleaner, assistant store manager or waitress, but it beat the pay of a caregiver, retail assistant, nanny or kitchen hand, according to CareersNZ.
And though Taranaki and Bay of Plenty house prices both surged by more than $30,000 in the past year, in Waikato they plummeted by $20,000 to $325,000 - a capital gain decline of nearly $55 a day.
Real Estate Institute chief executive Colleen Milne admitted it was "very hard" for first home buyers trying to break into the Auckland market, because of strong demand and lack of supply. But cheaper housing would eventually come on stream once the housing accord and developers ramped up, though it was likely to be in outer suburbs.
"Don't give up hope, keep saving. But ... you may have to move out or commute."
Mortgage Link mortgage adviser Stuart Wills said Auckland was a popular place to live. But the demand for property and lack of new housing had pushed prices up faster than incomes had increased.