'I feel ill': 1995 Wellington house prices nauseate distressed millennials

Social media users were horrified by the low prices.
Social media users were horrified by the low prices. Photo credit: Reddit

This article was first published in April 2021.

A 1995 newspaper advertisement has left a sour taste in the mouths of house-hungry Wellingtonians, with the listed prices being just a fraction of what today's home buyers can expect.

The listing from the Evening Post was uploaded on to Reddit where it swiftly sickened commenters.

Of the five listed homes, all are below $200,000 and one is for sale by tender.

For comparison, a TradeMe search of all houses for sale across New Zealand for sale yielded 149 results. Of these, just three were $200,000 or just under - and all three were decidedly ramshackle and far from central cities.

Commenters on the post were gobsmacked at the difference 26 years has made to the housing market, with one person remarking it made them "suddenly feel ill".

"How far we've fallen," wrote another person.

"Almost feels like a second world when salaries are so dismal."

One of the properties on the vintage newspaper listing, 73 Nairn St, has the price tag of $179,000 - in today's money, adjusting for inflation that's approximately $297,000. 

But homes.co.nz puts the estimated value of the property at an eye-watering $1.13 million.

Stats NZ doesn't have data for New Zealand's 1995 median income but in 1998 it was just shy of $15,500 - and the average Wellington central house cost between $250,000 and $350,000 in the same year.

According to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index released on Wednesday, New Zealand's national average asking price for a property is now $805,100 -  and in Wellington, that's even higher at $890,000. It's the first time the nationwide price has crossed the $800,000 mark. By comparison, in 2020 the median wage is $53,040.

Meaning, if a person on today's median wage saved all their money - not spending anything on rent, food or utilities it would take three years to save $160,000 - a 20 percent deposit on a $800,000 property.

The Government has introduced a slew of changes to try and cool the scorching hot property market - including extending the bright-line test to try and stop house flippers, investing more in new builds and changing the settings for first home loans and grants to make it easier for first-home buyers to get a foot in the door.

However, it doesn't appear to have made a  difference yet, with prices continuing to creep higher, as younger buyers slip further away.