A decade ago, you could probably have cobbled together enough savings in six and a half years – but not any more.

Buying a first home has always been hard, but these days the deposit is a huge hurdle for aspiring homeowners who need many years to save one while prices keep climbing.
Recent CoreLogic data shows property values increased sharply in the first three months of this year, with the national average up by 7.2 per cent since December to $845,491 in March.
Nationwide values then increased by a further 3.1 per cent over April, which took the annual rate of growth to 18.4 per cent from 16.2 per cent in March and left the average national value at $871,375.
First-home buyers have watched the size of the deposit they require soar in tandem with house prices.
The amount of time it takes first-home buyers to save a deposit for a house has gone up.
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Stuffs recently launched housing affordability measure calculates how long it takes to save a deposit based on CoreLogics national median first-home buyer price and Infometrics median household income before tax amount of $97,196. It assumes savings of 30 per cent of before-tax income.
It reveals that, as of April, it takes 243 weeks (or four years and 35 weeks) for a median-income household to save a standard 20 per cent deposit of the current median of $680,000. That is up by six weeks from March.
But a household saving less, or looking to buy at a higher price will take longer to accrue the equivalent deposit.
CoreLogic calculated someone saving 15 per cent, and aiming for the overall median purchase price of all buyers, would need nine years to save, up from 6.6 a decade ago.
CoreLogic’s chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said that was only just under the 2004 record of 9.1 years.
In many areas of New Zealand, this measure has already surpassed previous peaks. The lengthening period of time required to save a deposit is a large hurdle for many would-be buyers.
There are regional variations. First-home buyers in Auckland have to save for longer periods (11 years), while those in provincial areas can save a deposit in less time, he says.
Despite current growth, house prices remain lower in provincial areas and the house price-to-income ratio is higher in the main centres. Its easier to save a deposit for provincial buyers, plus they dont need to borrow as much in dollar terms.
CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson says the average age of first-home buyers has not increased in recent years.
But even though it takes more time to save a deposit than it did once, CoreLogics data shows the average age of first-home buyers has not gone up over recent years.
The national average had stayed at 34 since 2017 and is younger (31) in provincial areas.
Davidson says a major reason for this was willingness to move further afield or to look at different or cheaper property types, but first-home buyers may also have begun to save earlier than in the past.
Growing numbers of first-home buyers are open to smaller land sizes, rather than the traditional quarter-acre section, and are very flexible with suburb selection, Mortgages Onlines Hamish Patel says.
Many understand now that their first home will only be a stepping stone towards the dream home. Flexible working hours and remote options by employers enable this. Theres also some indication that owner-occupiers are now more open to apartments.
Reginald and Lovely Abellana are buying an “affordable” house and land package at Jack’s Landing.
The advent of KiwiSaver and the ability for first-home buyers to make withdrawals from it, as well as access to assistance like First Home Grants and the First Home Loans scheme, are a big help to many people, particularly couples, he says.
Many couples seem to carry approximately $70,000 from KiwiSaver and the average size of the deposits we see from them would be about $140,000 jointly with about $80,000 in savings.
Patel estimates that, on average, the first-home buyers he sees would have saved their deposit over the five to seven years after they signed up with KiwiSaver.
It is possible for first-home buyers to get a mortgage with a deposit under 20 per cent, especially if they are buying a new build, which requires a deposit of around 10 per cent. But having a deposit of less than 20 per cent can be a hurdle if buying an existing property in a hot market, he says.
More first-home buyers are now open to purchasing properties with less land, such as townhouses.
But the Governments new tax policies for investors mean first-home buyers will now have a better shot at certain types of properties, such as units in less desirable areas, which are cheaper and used to be favoured by investors.
Despite this, first-home buyers have been less active in the market over the first part of this year, according to data from CoreLogic and economist Tony Alexanders regular surveys of real estate agents and mortgage advisers.
First Home Coach app co-founder Matt Taylor says escalating prices, along with the extremely competitive market, have been disheartening for many aspiring homeowners.
Their data shows that households with incomes of less than $50,000 and of over $150,000 saved less towards a deposit over the last quarter, although the savings of those in the $50,000-$150,000 income range remained stable.
The Government announced in March it was extending the bright-line test, reducing tax deductions on property investments, and would step up investment in communal infrastructure to support housing developments.
However, the amounts already saved for a first-home deposit have flourished during the past six months, he says.
Its just as well deposit savings are rising, as the amount aspiring first-home buyers expect to have to fork out for their new digs has increased across the board to an average of $678,000 from $646,000, which is a five per cent increase in just six months.
Taylor says first-home buyers often need to adjust their expectations of what they can buy. Three-quarters of app users started out wanting to buy a free-standing, three or four-bedroom home and most were in the $550,000 to $700,000 price-range.
Thats simply not realistic, so they need to assess how much they can save and what they can actually spend that on. Breaking down the savings required to a monthly target motivates people to save and then making good use of KiwiSaver, and other assistance, enables people to better build a deposit.