Affordability in New Zealand

This website is produced by MRCagney as a public education tool illustrating the spatial nature of affordability and how big a role transport plays. It is inspired in part by the article "Housing and Transport Expenditure: Socio-spatial Indicators of Affordability in Auckland" by K. Mattingly and J. Morrissey [MaMo2014] and updated every calendar quarter. This website is also open source: its data and source code can be found on Gitlab, and contributors are welcome.

Data and Methodology

Frequently Asked Questions

So what is affordable, that is, what fraction of my net income should I be spending on rent and commute costs?

That depends on your financial targets. For example, if you want to live frugally like Mr. Money Mustache, then you want to save at least 65% of your net income, leaving at most 35% for expenses. Some of that needs to go to food, clothing, healthcare, etc., leaving roughly 20% of net income for rent and commutes.

Why not include other costs in the app, such as food, power, and internet?

We wanted to emphasize the spatial nature of affordability and balance accuracy with simplicity, informing but not overwhelming the user. So we included the dominant and most spatially variable costs and excluded the rest, such as food, power, and internet.

Why not display the 2001 census area units found in the MBIE rental bond data instead of aggregating them into larger areas?

Two reasons. First, the MBIE data is spotty, so you would see a lot of gray census area units with no rental data. Aggregating them improves the data coverage, albeit at the loss of spatial resolution. Second, aggregating as we did allows you to compare the map directly with the Tenancy Service market rent calculator, should you want more details on market rent, such as rent quartiles.

What happened to the old affordability site that used 2013 census data?

That site has been archived here. It has more complete rental data from the 2013 census and finer spatial resolution but is stuck in time in 2013. That is because its high quality data will not be available again until after the next New Zealand census, which takes place March 2018.


This project is a work in progress and your feedback can help make it better. Email Alex.

MRCagney logo