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Masterton ‘relatively’ better off for housing

Compared to the rest of the nation, Masterton isn’t too shabby on the housing affordability front – although its rental affordability remains significantly high, according to a just-released analysis.

Economics consultancy Infometrics’ housing domain score takes into account home ownership rates, household crowding rates, housing affordability, and rental affordability.

Masterton scored 53.8 out of 100, compared to New Zealand’s overall score of 40.1.

Andrew Whiteford – Infometric’s Wairarapa-based director of chief product innovation – said Masterton performs relatively well with regard to housing affordability.

“Masterton has plentiful land that helps keep prices low relative to national affordability, although prices have been growing very rapidly recently,” said Whiteford.

“Since Masterton is within commuting distance of Wellington, some of its residents can tap into the high salary economy of Wellington city, which helps boost household incomes.”

The only housing category Masterton underperforms in compared to the national score is in rental affordability, which Whiteford said reflects the rate at which average rents have increased.

“Average rents have grown very rapidly in Masterton – much faster than the national average over the past seven years,” Whiteford said.

“The growth in the rental stock has not kept pace with the growth in demand for rentals, which has sustained very strong increases in rental prices.”

In April, the Times-Age reported that it was taking 24.4 per cent of the average household income to pay weekly rent.

More recent figures from Infometrics show this has increased this year, and now sits at 25.2 per cent.

The average weekly rent in Masterton for 2023 has now touched $471, up 9.3 per cent from $431 last year.

Although Masterton’s current overall score in housing is higher than the national average, the district had also seen a significant drop from 67.2 in 2017.

As the ranking system is relative, Whiteford said this means Masterton has become less affordable both in house values and rents relative to other districts but is still well above the national average.

“Masterton is an attractive place to live and consequently its population has been growing very strongly,” Whiteford said.

“It has benefited from the post-covid trend of more working from home, which has brought more people to live in Masterton.”

The downside of this, Whiteford said, is that the district is now experiencing upward pressure on house prices and rents.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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