A stocktake of New Zealand’s housing

Author:
Alan Johnson, Philippa Howden-Chapman, Shamubeel Eaqub
Source:
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, MBIE
Publication date:
2018

Extracts from the Introduction:

This stocktake report was commissioned by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development the Hon Phil Twyford in November 2017. Its main purpose is to provide the New Zealand public with a broad overview of the current state of housing markets and the housing system in New Zealand. This overview takes the form of a series of brief reviews of various housing outcomes and policy areas and backs these with extensive data and additional references. ...

Response to homelessness inadequate
In mid-2016 the previous National Government began to appreciate the extent of the growing shortage in affordable good quality rental housing and commenced an emergency housing programme with some urgency. ...

A problem in the main centres
Home ownership rates have fallen to the lowest levels in 60 years. House price inflation over the past five years has been around 30% across New Zealand overall while incomes have risen by about half this rate. There is however significant regional variance around this average national rate with house prices rising by approximately 65% in Auckland and 45% in Waikato. ...

Lack of housing supply exacerbated by infrastructure funding constraints
Underlying these affordability problems is an inadequate supply of new housing. While current levels of building consents and house construction are at decade highs, these levels are not exceptional over a longer history and have certainly not been adequate for the strong population growth experienced over the past five years. ...

Private rental housing growing and under stress
About half of New Zealand adults owned their home in 2013. The private rental housing market appears to be under considerable supply side pressure on account of high house construction costs, high house prices and low yields. Over 70% of the additional 150,000 households formed over the past decade are likely to have become tenants and recent strong population growth has consolidated this strong demand for private rental accommodation. ...

Housing insecurity increases for Māori and Pacific peoples
Recent housing policies have failed to address the housing problems of Māori and Pacific peoples. Rising housing costs have contributed to declining home ownership rates, greater housing instability, and Māori and Pacific peoples living in poor quality housing. By 2013, Māori and Pacific homeownership rates had declined relatively rapidly to 28% for Māori and 19% for Pacific peoples, compared with 57% for Europeans. ...

The future of the Accommodation Supplement
The previous Government’s decision to increase maximum payments under the Accommodation Supplement (AS) programme was overdue and the present Government’s decision to press ahead with these increases, in April 2018, is sensible under the circumstances of rising rents and increasing levels of housing-related poverty. However, such policy adjustments are unlikely to offer much relief and cannot be seen as a medium-term solution to the clear limitations of the AS as one of the main housing affordability policy instruments. ...

Tenants’ rights need strengthening
Private rental housing tends to be of poorer quality and the tenure of such housing is more tenuous than home ownership. In the absence of any regulatory enforcement and as demand has out-stripped supply, there have been few incentives for landlords to maintain or improve the quality of their rental houses, which on average are of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes. ...

Older people facing increasing housing-related poverty
The falling rates of homeownership over the past 25 years is now feeding through into the housing options for retiring Baby Boomers. The numbers of people receiving both New Zealand Superannuation and an Accommodation Supplement payment is growing by 2,000 per year. ...

Last updated: 2018-02-12