NZ Housing to Silver Ratio 1968 – 2021 – Measuring NZ House Prices in Silver

The housing to silver ratio shows that when priced in silver, New Zealand median house prices have fallen almost 12% since 2003. But you’ll see below how history shows you could potentially buy a median priced house in New Zealand for only $48,636…

You may have read our article on the NZ housing to gold ratio. We outlined there, how when priced in gold, New Zealand house prices could fall 79%. So we’ve done the same for silver and the numbers show even more upside potential.

What is the Housing to Silver Ratio?

Firstly, here’s how to calculate the house price to silver price ratio.

The housing/silver ratio is simply the median house price divided by the current silver price.  The resulting number shows how many ounces of silver it takes to buy the median New Zealand house at a given point in time.

For example for March Quarter 2021: 

Median NZ house price of $826,300.00 divided by $35.85 /oz equals 23,046.78 ounces.

So it took 23,046.78 ounces of silver to buy the median priced New Zealand house as of March 2021.

We can then use the historical data to compare how overvalued or undervalued silver is compared to housing.

The below chart shows the median New Zealand house price since 1968. See the black line and left hand axis. Along with NZ housing to silver ratio – the orange line and right hand axis.

So the orange line shows us exactly how many ounces of silver it took to purchase the median priced house in New Zealand over the past 52 years.

NZ Housing to Silver Ratio Chart 1968 - 2021
NZ Housing to Silver Ratio Chart 1968 – 2021

How Have NZ House Prices Varied Over the Past 50 Years When Priced in Silver?

NZ Housing to Silver Ratio Bottomed in 1980 at 1000 ozs

The above chart shows that at the end of the 1970’s precious metals bull market, it took around 1000 ozs of silver to buy the median New Zealand house (see the lowest point on the orange line).

To be specific, in March 1980 it took 1158 ounces. However our house price index data is only quarterly. The NZ silver price averaged $25.89 during March. Whereas the silver price peaked in January 1980 where it averaged $39.78. So this would have pushed the housing to silver ratio down under 1000 ounces.

Therefore anywhere close to 1000 ounces is likely to be a very good time to trade silver for property.

The Ratio Peaked in 2003-2005 at Almost 30,000 ozs

The ratio rose right through to the mid 2000’s where it took just under 30,000 ounces of silver to buy a median priced house in New Zealand. So silver was very cheap in New Zealand then!  (Or was housing expensive?)

How Many Ounces of Silver to Buy the Average NZ House Today?

The ratio got back up to as high as 27,000 ounces in March 2020. That was when silver crashed briefly during the Covid19 panic. It then fell back to 17,500 in September 2020.

With the national median house price jumping sharply since September 2020, as of March 2021 the NZ housing to silver ratio is back up to just over 23,000 oz’s. So it has a long way to fall to get back close to 1000 oz’s.

How Does the Housing to Silver Ratio in New Zealand Compare to the USA?

We were originally inspired into crunching the numbers on silver versus housing here in NZ, after posting an article from Casey Research “The Silver/Housing Ratio: How to Buy a Vacation Home

In the USA in January 1980, housing bottomed against silver at 1258 oz’s.  So the numbers are quite similar to our own. The US housing bubble saw the ratio reach a much higher number in the mid 2000’s. Note the chart below from the excellent runs only up until 2020. But at 17,474 ounces to buy the average USA house it is very similar to what the New Zealand ratio was last year.


Also just like here in New Zealand, house prices might have gone up during the inflationary 1970’s, but in silver terms (just as in gold), they actually went down overall in that decade.

This is shown clearly in our chart. See how from 1970 to 1980 the black median house price line was gently rising. While the orange housing to silver ratio line was steadily falling. Albeit with a correction in the mid 1970s. The falling housing to silver ratio shows silver was rising in price faster than house prices during this period.

Here’s Another Way of Thinking About Silver…

How to Buy a Median Priced House in NZ Freehold, for Only $48,636…

A sensational headline alright we agree.  And just like the headlines in the NZ Woman’s Weekly there is more to it than meets the eye – but it’s a basic premise that we want to demonstrate.

It’s the concept of how moving from one asset class into another at the right time can have a profound impact upon your wealth.

Projected house price in silver over the coming years

Sold! – to the Guy at the Back With 1158 Ounces of Silver!

Here’s the premise for our rather sensational headline today…

1. You buy 1158 oz’s of silver today at NZ$42 per ounce (in the form of 5oz bars) for a total purchase of $48,636.

2. History repeats, and the housing to silver ratio again heads down towards 1158 ozs in the coming years,

3. Eventually you may be able to buy a median priced New Zealand house with that 1158 ounces of silver (or $48,636 (in today’s terms) worth of silver).

4. Voila – a house for $48,636!

Granted we haven’t taken into account that you’ll possibly get slightly under the spot price of silver when you sell it.  Also it will no doubt be difficult to pick the absolute bottom in the ratio. Nonetheless, the exercise demonstrates that silver is likely still undervalued on a historical basis, comparatively to property at least.

Is the 1970’s Repeating?

To our eye the 1970’s do seem to be repeating currently. Check out the chart since early 2019.  Nominal house prices (black line) have continued their rise. Going almost vertical over the past year. Whereas when priced in silver (orange line), housing has fallen from 26,000 ozs to just over 23,000 ozs. Close to 12% in fact.  

So after such a fall, do you think you’ve missed the boat with silver? 

Well, if history repeats house prices could have almost 95% further to fall yet!  We could be wrong of course but it makes for an interesting speculation we reckon. 

Got a spare $48,636 lying around? Buy some silver today.

Editors Note: This post was first published 29 March 2011. Last Updated 11 May 2021. With new charts, latest numbers and expanded commentary.

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