Latest results for the Housing Affordability Measure

This page gives the latest results for the Housing Affordability Measure (HAM) which measures household income after paying for housing costs for potential first home buyers and renters, by region and territorial authority.

National
Figure 1: Share of first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average income after housing costs, national-level (March 2003 to March 2018)

Figure 1: Share of first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average income after housing costs, national-level (March 2003 to March 2018)

At a national level, the share of potential first home buyer households with below average incomes after housing costs remained unchanged at 80% between March 2017 and March 2018.

Nationally, the share of renter households with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 61% in March 2017 to 59% in March 2018.

At the regional level, affordability is mixed:

  • In Upper Hutt affordability for first-home buyers worsened from 77% to 79% and in Tauranga affordability for first-home buyers worsened from 87% to 88%.
  • By contrast, affordability for renters improved in both those areas (from 63% to 62% in Upper Hutt and from 64% to 63% in Tauranga).
  • Affordability for first-home buyers in Queenstown-Lakes worsened from 85% to 91%. Rent affordability remained constant at 43%, which is a break from a long-running trend of improving rental affordability in the area.
Auckland City
Figure 2: Share of potential first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Auckland City (March 2003 to March 2018)

Figure 2: Share of potential first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Auckland City (March 2003 to March 2018)

The share of potential first home buyer households in Auckland City with below average incomes after housing costs remained constant at 84% between March 2017 and March 2018, breaking from the trend of worsening affordability observed since 2013.

The share of renter households in Auckland City with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 54% in March 2017 to 52% in March 2018.

Christchurch City
Figure 3: Share of potential first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Christchurch City (March 2003 to March 2018)

Figure 3: Share of potential first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Christchurch City (March 2003 to March 2018)

The share of potential first home buyer households in Christchurch City with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 75% in March 2017 to 73% in March 2018.

The share of renter households in Christchurch City with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 57% to 56% between March 2017 and March 2018.

Wellington City
Figure 4: Share of potential first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Wellington City (March 2003 to March 2018)

Figure 4: Share of potential first home buyer (HAM Buy) and renter (HAM Rent) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Wellington City (March 2003 to March 2018)

The share of potential first home buyer households in Wellington City with below average incomes after housing costs remained unchanged at 63% between March 2017 and March 2018.

The share of renter households in Wellington City with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 44% in March 2017 to 42% in March 2018.

What does the HAM measure?

The HAM does not set a level at which housing is or is not affordable. Determining affordability depends on each household’s circumstances and expectations of what qualifies as a socially accepted standard of living. This is a challenge common to all efforts at measuring material hardship1.

The HAM uses household-level data to compare the 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.

In dollar amounts, income after housing costs for the average New Zealand household is $662 per week for a one-person household. This amount is adjusted for household size. The more people that live in a household, the more income it must have left after housing costs in order to have a comparable standard of living. The following table summarises how much income after housing costs the average household has in different situations, both in weekly and annual terms:

Definition of average income after housing costs, by household type  
Household Weekly income after housing costs Annual income after housing costs
Single adult $662 $34,436
Single parent, one child $861 $44,766
Single parent, two children $1,060 $55,097
     
Couple, no children $993 $51,654
Couple, one child $1,192 $61,984
Couple, two children $1,391 $72,315
     
Each extra adult +$331 +$17,218
Each extra child +$199 +$10,331

These values are also adjusted for inflation. The above values apply for June 2013 – to determine the values for other time periods, you can use the Reserve Bank’s Inflation Calculator(external link).

Files for download

Table 1 - HAM by Region [CSV, 35 KB]

Table 2 - HAM by TA and selected Wards [CSV, 116 KB]

Supplementary Table A - HAM by TA and Selected Wards (Trended) [CSV, 175 KB]

Supplementary Table B - High Stress Households by TA and selected Wards [CSV, 117 KB]

1 A useful discussion of the issues with measuring material hardship can be found in Appendix 6 of Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2015 by the Ministry of Social Development.