Frustration for some as Northland house prices defy national trend

Aotearoa’s average house price may be dipping, but in some corners of the country, the climb continues.

Affordable houses around Whangarei are in short supply, creating a social crisis in the city.

House prices in Northland have risen by another 3 percent, latest figures show. Photo: Northern Advocate/Michael Cunningham

The Quotable Value (QV) house price index out this week showed a 2.2 per cent drop in the three months to May.

Northland was one of four regions that kept up positive growth (3 percent), alongside Canterbury (1.6 percent), Taranaki (0.3 percent) and Queenstown Lakes (3.2 percent).

QV spokesman Simon Petersen said Te Tai Tokerau’s rapid growth was defying convention.

He told RNZ house prices had been historically lower in the north than the national average and people were moving up.

“Aucklanders are looking for a change in lifestyle, so that’s going to keep pressure on housing.”

Rachel Rowland and her husband have been looking to buy in Kaipara.

It is the most expensive district in Northland – values have grown 27.9 percent in the past year, to $948,723.

Rowland said that was “very upsetting”.

“Am I going to be renting till the cows come home now? Possibly, especially if the houses keep going up, we just can’t afford one.”

She has three children, two with disabilities, and they need wheelchair access.

Eileen McIlroy and Ivan Roche are saving to buy a home in Northland

Eileen McIlroy and Ivan Roche Photo: Supplied

But Rowland often wondered if buying a home was a realistic plan.

“Maybe in another 10 years, if I save like crazy to get even more of a deposit to afford the house that’s suitable for our family. Are they [prices] going to be [in a] skyrocket by then again?”

Ivan Roche is also saving for a house deposit in Northland.

“We need to get that 10 percent; it’s a lot harder for us to get it as the house market is climbing,” he said.

“So it’s a case of us pretty much just chasing our tail at the moment.”

Kāinga Ora homes being built in Kaitāia.

Kāinga Ora homes being built in Kaitāia. Photo: Supplied

Those unable to buy or rent are increasingly looking for state housing from Kāinga Ora.

But the waitlist is now six times what it was five years ago – growing from 234 applications in March 2017 to 1473 this March.

Regional director Jeff Murray said Kāinga Ora was building 140 new homes by the middle of next year – the biggest building programme in decades.

He acknowledged the waitlist would not go away but the new homes would help.

“We’ll build the homes that we can build within the budget that we’ve been given.”

Nationally, the average house price is still more than a million dollars – QV estimated $1,040,927 this week.

Kāinga Ora's Te Tai Tokerau regional director Jeff Murray.

Kāinga Ora’s Jeff Murray Photo: Supplied / Kainga Ora

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