Average couple needs to save for 16 years to buy an Auckland home - and that's just the deposit

Saving for a home in Auckland? It will take you 16 years if you're in a relationship and on an average salary, new research has found.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) has found the average couple in the city will need that long to save for a deposit on a house worth $670,000.

And that's not even an average house - only a quarter are priced below that level, REINZ says.

"While much has been much made in the media of telling young people to stop eating smashed avocado on toast and to stop buying $5 coffees, the reality is that when they're going to be saving for 16 years," says REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell.

"The odd brunch out here and there feels like it is well-deserved."

An Auckland couple earning an average weekly income, paying the average weekly expenses and saving for a 20 percent deposit (as required for most lending under the present Reserve Bank rules) can only expect to scrape together $134,000.

"The worst part of this situation is, that by the time they've saved the money, the goal posts are likely to have moved as house prices have only gone in one direction over the past few years," says Ms Norwell.

"If someone is on their own, then you're effectively talking about doubling the amount of time it would take to save a deposit."

REINZ used figures from Statistics NZ and IRD to come up with the 16-year figure.

"We all know saving for a deposit in Auckland is hard, but this research proves that it is a staggering amount of time for people to be trying to save for a deposit for a house - especially when they're currently renting," says Ms Norwell.

REINZ says the figures show the Reserve Bank has to ease lending restrictions to help first-home buyers get on the property ladder.

"Saving a 20 percent deposit is just too difficult."

Presently, only 15 percent of a bank's total lending can be to buyers with a less-than-20 percent deposit.

The situation isn't quite so dire elsewhere in the country. Wellingtonians need to save for about three years to buy a house in their city, while Cantabrians need about four.

Outside of Auckland, North Islanders on average will need 6.5 years, and South Islanders five.

REINZ said it couldn't get more specific data from Statistics NZ.

Home ownership is at a 60-year low. The Government hopes to turn that around with its KiwiBuild programme, but there are growing doubts over its cost and whether it will deliver its promised "affordable" homes on a grand scale.