29 Mar 2012

Houses more affordable in most regions - academic

4:01 pm on 29 March 2012

Housing affordability is improving, but Auckland and Canterbury prices are edging up on the back of shortages of properties for sale, according to a new report from Massey University.

The Home Affordability Report from the university's real estate analysis unit shows that on an annual basis, house prices have improved by about 9% in the past year.

The unit's director, Bob Hargreaves, says prices in most regions are improving but a shortage of available homes in Auckland and Canterbury is pushing up prices in those regions.

"House prices in most regions have been fairly static, with the exception of Auckland, where the house prices are going up," he says.

Professor Hargreaves says housing affordability will only stay in the buyer's favour while interest rates are low.

He says interest rates are much more likely to go up than down in the next 12 months.

Real Estate Institute figures show sales rose by half to 6000 in February, compared with the previous month.

But while an increase in sales is enticing more people to put their house on the market, Professor Hargreaves says the building of new homes has not kept pace.

He says there is an undersupply of new housing which will keep the pressure on house prices.