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Housing affordability has been a topic of much interest in New Zealand over recent years with the median house price increasing by over 50% between 2004 and 2008. The aim of this paper is to inform debate by drawing out evidence from two surveys: the Household Economic Survey (HES); and the Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE). In particular, the paper examines how patterns of house prices, expenditures, and home ownership have changed over time and across groups. A model which may be suggestive of whether or not an individual or couple is likely to find home-ownership affordable is also developed. This model incorporates information relating to four important influences of affordability: income; net wealth; house prices; and the structure of mortgage contracts (including the interest rate and mortgage term).
The authors wish to thank our referees, Phil Briggs, Paul Conway, Andrew Coleman and Mario Di Maio for their very helpful suggestions and comments on this paper. We are also grateful to our editor, Grant Scobie.
The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the author(s). They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury, the New Zealand Productivity Commission or the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Treasury, the New Zealand Productivity Commission and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in these working papers. The paper is presented not as policy, but with a view to inform and stimulate wider debate.
Access to the data used in this study was provided by Statistics New Zealand under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. The results presented in this study are the work of the authors, not Statistics New Zealand.