The proportion of New Zealanders living in their own home was the lowest in almost 70 years at the time of the 2018 Census, and home ownership is becoming much less common for younger people, Stats NZ says.
A new report entitled ‘Housing in Aotearoa: 2020’ brings together a range of housing information, including home ownership data, to paint a picture of the state of housing in the country today.
Home ownership lowest since 1951
Census data shows that home ownership peaked in the 1990s at 74% and by 2018 had fallen to 65% of households, the lowest rate since 1951.
Homeownership rates have fallen for all age groups since the early 1990s, but especially for those in their 20s and 30s.
In 1991, 61 percent of people aged 25 to 29 years lived in an owner-occupied home. By 2018, this had dropped to 44 percent. Similarly, for those aged in their late 30s, the rate dropped from 79 percent in 1991 to 59 percent in 2018.
Younger Kiwis are the hardest hit
“Homeownership rates for younger people have seen significant falls since the 1990s; however, ownership rates for those aged 60 years and over have only fallen slightly,” lead author Dr Rosemary Goodyear said.
“This may be because the baby boomer generation was more likely to get a foot on the property ladder earlier than young people today.”
With the decline in homeownership, a higher proportion of households are now renting. At the time of the 2018 Census, 32 percent of households were living in rented homes.
Renters spend more on housing
“Price indexes show that rents have risen in line with incomes nationally, but have outstripped income growth in centres like Wellington and Auckland where markets are particularly competitive,” Dr Goodyear said.
Households that rent spend, on average, a higher proportion of their income on housing costs than people living in owner-occupied homes.
The study’s findings on home ownership among young people in NZ appear in contrast to recent figures released by the Westpac banking group for Australia. These indicate that the number of first home-buyers looking to enter the property market in Australia in the next five years has increased significantly.