4 in 5 Kiwis struggle to afford first home, new Govt figures show

First-home buyers are severely struggling to get on the ladder across the country, according to a new housing affordability measure (HAM) launched by the Government.

HAM's release has been delayed for two years and the data released on Wednesday only goes up to 2015.

It's been developed by Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) independently from ministers and reveals 81.4 percent of Kiwis looking for their first homes can't comfortably afford it.

Affordability is also looking grim for renters, worse in June 2015 than it was before the global financial crisis, with 67 percent unable to comfortably afford their housing.

It's worst in Auckland, where skyrocketing house and rental prices have seen 86 percent of first-home buyers struggling.

"Between 2011 and 2015, Auckland's house prices grew at historically high rates, making it more expensive to buy a first home," the report said.

Meanwhile in Canterbury there's been a significant improvement in affordability following the 2011 earthquake, beginning to flatten again in 2015, for both renters and first-home buyers.

The data released on Wednesday only measures up to June 2015. In the last two years, house prices have continued to skyrocket.

But Housing Minister Nick Smith isn't worried.

"I've been quite encouraged over the last six months particularly that house prices in Auckland have been flattening," he said.

"I'll be interested to see the progress of this new Housing Affordability Measure as it reports quarterly from here."

In March, a report in The Economist found New Zealand's housing was the most unaffordable in the world.