Kiwis react to viral graph showing how much they need to earn to afford the average house

The graph consists of data from
The graph consists of data from Photo credit: File/Emma Vitz/Twitter

A graph showing how much money people need to earn to buy the average house in their region is going bonkers on social media, with many concluding they might be in the wrong area to purchase their own home. 

The graph, made by actuary trainee Emma Vitz and posted to Twitter last week, consists of data from - based on a 4 percent interest rate, 20 percent deposit, 30-year mortgage, and the median house price as of April 30, 2021.

It shows Aucklanders need to earn nearly $171,000 to afford the average house. In Waikato, people need to earn $110,560, Wellington $131,960, Canterbury $85,520, and Otago $107,520.

The data revealed much lower earnings were needed in two South Island regions, however - $60,440 for Southland and $41,040 on the West Coast.

But the entirety of the North Island was beyond the six-figure mark - excluding Taranaki and Manawatū, which were at $82,000 and $88,000 respectively.

Vitz said she based the figures on common financial advice that people shouldn't be spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

House prices have risen dramatically during the past year. The Government in March announced a suite of new housing policies, aiming to cool off property investment and help first-home buyers.

Despite those moves from the Government, the latest Quotable Value data shows the average house price rose 8.9 percent in just three months to May.

Vitz's graph has subsequently been shared on other social media platforms including Reddit, with many disappointed the average home would be simply unaffordable in their region.

"I'm buying a tent," the user who posted the graph to Reddit said. 

"Well that's depressing," one commented.

However, others noted single-income earners may not need to buy the "average" house.

"A single person probably doesn't need to buy an 'average' house, and could get by nicely on a 2 bedroom or even 1 bedroom place that would be significantly cheaper than the 3-4 bedroom places a family buys," one person wrote.

Another Kiwi, apparently based in the US, said getting on the property ladder in New Zealand is still easier than many parts of the United States.

"I moved states just so I could have a beautiful home and actually afford to leave work to have a family," the user said.

Another said they could afford to buy in a few regions - but it wouldn't be possible due to a lack of employment opportunities.

"Anywhere I can afford to live and own a home for my family, I can't work because there are no jobs there for what I do.

"Jumping over to Aus is seeming like the only viable option since they have better pay for my industry and (relatively) cheaper houses."

Some economists believe house prices won't stop increasing until interest rates go up - which one of the country's biggest banks, ASB, is tipping will happen in May. 

ASB's latest economic forecast suggests the housing market remains "unsinkable" and expects prices to spike another 10 percent this year.