Property gurus are warning potential home buyers to tread lightly in the wake of New Zealand’s listing in the ranks of the world’s least affordable cities dropping.

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, measuring the cost of housing relative to incomes, named New Zealand as the third least affordable country in the world following Hong Kong and Australia.

According to data from Barfoot & Thompson, New Zealand’s largest privately owned real estate company, house prices in Auckland still continue to rise but at the lowest rates in the last five years.

The data also showed in 2017, the average house price in Auckland increased by 4.5 per cent to $926,632. Despite the rise in cost, the number of houses sold fell, with only 571 new listings in December, low compared to previous months.

House prices in Auckland still continue to rise but at the lowest rates in the last five years

Despite the high costs of housing in Auckland, another city has outranked it as the most unaffordable city in the country. Tauranga was this year named the most unaffordable city in New Zealand for housing.

In Tauranga, residents spend nearly nine years of their full household income to buy a house where in Auckland it’s sitting just above eight years.

So where are the most affordable housing markets in the world if they’re not in New Zealand? Well, many of them are in the United States, where parts of the country continue to suffer from severe economic depression, poor job prospects and low incomes.

For Auckland house buyers, the only thing to do now is to wait and watch the market for further updates. If history is anything to go by, the economy’s gradual growth should spur wage increases and kick start a more affordable housing market.