The top of the South Island has been identified as one of the least affordable regions in the country.
A Massey University home affordability report shows house prices in the Nelson Marlborough region at 103% of the national average.
Only Auckland and Central Otago Lakes were less affordable.
Report author Professor Bob Hargreaves says a rise in Nelson's population of more than 8%, shown in the 2013 Census, is putting further pressure on the market.
He says lower wages and a growing retiree market are also compounding the lack of affordability.