Even cheap houses now unaffordable

New housing affordability data show that now even the cheapest houses in Auckland are unaffordable for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. 

“The AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report reveals Auckland's lower quartile house price has leapt to $587,200 in March from $554,600 in February, an increase of $32,000 in a month – completely wiping out the maximum benefit of the Government’s HomeStart programme in only one month.

“Housing Minister Nick Smith last week lectured first home buyers to be realistic and not expect to buy their first home in the leafy suburbs like Remuera. This new data shows just how out of touch he is. Even the cheapest houses are now becoming out of reach of first home buyers. 

“The AMP360 report shows the increase in lower quartile house prices have pushed mortgage payments to $778.77 a week, or 50.6% of a couple's net income. 

“Even Nick Smith should be able to see from this data why home ownership rates are the lowest in 60 years and falling and why it now takes 50 years now to pay off the average Auckland house,” says Phil Twyford. 

“The Government’s HomeStart subsidies, which at their best deliver $20,000 for a new build but on average will only provide a few thousand per person, fall hopelessly short when set against sky-rocketing Auckland house prices. National needs to stop tinkering and tackle the causes of the housing crisis by cracking down on speculators, shutting out offshore speculators, and building large numbers of affordable homes.”