Housing crisis: Asking prices up 50 percent in just five years, homeowners making more from property than work

House prices have increased so much over the past five years, the average homeowner has pocketed more each year in potential capital gains than the typical worker gets before tax, new figures suggest.

Trade Me on Thursday released its latest Property Price Index, showing the average asking price on its site is now above $900,000 - up 22.7 percent in one year, the biggest jump ever. Outside of Auckland, prices rose 26 percent. 

"If we compare the national average asking price to five years ago, homeowners have made an average of $311,450 on their property," said Gavin Lloyd, Trade Me property sales director. The new average is $936,150, nearly nine times the average household income

The median income is significantly below that, even before tax is taken out - while homeowners aren't required to pay any on capital gains they make when they sell. 

Every single region except Southland hit a new record high, with the biggest increases in Manawatū/Whanganui, up 33 percent in one year, and Hawke's Bay, up 32 percent. 

"Even after months of record-breaking price increases this year, the market is heading full steam ahead into 2022," said Lloyd. 

Treasury on Wednesday predicted house price growth would slow in 2022 to a still historically high 10.4 percent, whilst a number of economists are picking it to stabilise and possibly start going backwards by the year's end

Asking prices rose a massive 5 percent in just one month, Lloyd said, despite supply up month-on-month and demand dropping 12 percent compared to November 2020.

"It's easy to see why New Zealanders don't foresee any drop in property values, despite the momentous uplift in listings we're seeing and some experts predicting otherwise."

Even small houses are fast becoming unaffordable - the average price for one- and two-bedroom places rising 27 percent to $693,250. Townhouses, apartments and units rose to an average $756,550. 

Trade Me uses a 'truncated mean' to calculate its averages - ignoring the bottom and top 10 percent of prices to reduce the influence of outliers. 

Earlier this week the Human Rights Commission said it would be closely monitoring the Government's efforts to provide Kiwis with decent and affordable housing, calling the current situation a "housing and human rights crisis caused by decades of neglect". 

Housing Minister Megan Woods told Newshub it had "much work to do to turn the housing crisis around, but we are seeing positive signs from the work we have done", despite prices rising at a record pace over the past 18 months. 


The average asking price in Wellington hit a new high of $964,250, up 23 percent in a year. Wellington City itself is now a $1 million market, with the average asking price at $1,057,900. 

But there's hope - supply in the region is up 31 percent and demand down 18.

"This region will be one to watch in the coming months and if this situation continues we may well see prices cool off," said Lloyd. 


It's not looking so rosy in Auckland just yet. The region's average price is now $1.25 million, up 22 percent. Waiheke Island is most expensive at $1.73 million, followed by North Shore ($1.45 million) and Auckland City ($1.4 million). 

While demand dropped 17 percent, supply was only up 1 percent. 

The most popular property was a $6.3 million four-bedroom Grey Lynn home.