Housing Equity 

“New Zealand has one of the most overpriced housing markets in the OECD”


2018 A stocktake of New Zealand’s housing pdf   In 2017 Phil Twyford the Minister of Housing and Urban Development commissioned a report into the state of New Zealand’s housing market and the housing system.

Brief Overview

Homeownership Issues in Main Centres

  • 2017 the lowest homeownership rates
  • Increasing house prices:
    • 30% (nationwide) house price inflation whilst incomes rose by about 15%
    • House pricing increased more in Auckland and the Waikato 65 and 45% respectively
  • Reserve Bank policies require lower loan-to-value ratios
  • Lack of new houses with Auckland’s population growing by 40,000 per year
  • Housing shortage estimated at between 28-45K houses


Rental Issues 

  • The decreasing number of properties available
  • high cost of new builds – impacting on rental return
  • Rental costs outstripping income (in some areas rents have increased 2x as fast as incomes)
  • Lack of long term tenancies and no protection against frequent rental increases
  • Rental tenants generally pay a much higher proportion of their disposable household on accommodation than owner-occupiers or social housing tenants


Maori and Pacific People

  • 2013 28% of Maori and 19% of Pacific People were homeowners compared to 57% of Europeans
  • 1986 approximately 50% of Maori children lived in their own home in 2013 this dropped to 39% 
  • 1986 approximately 50% of Pacific children lived in their own home in 2013 this dropped to 28% 
  • 1986 -2013 Pacific People’s homeownership dropped from 56 to 27%

Data obtained prior to the 2014 election

NZ data 2014

It seems to have become accepted (in the US) that a median multiple of 3.0 times (your income) or less is a good marker for housing affordability.  The median multiple for New Zealander’s is closer to 4.5.

There is on-going discussion as to what the figure is for NZ and whether methodology used by other countries is relevant to NZ’s situation.
Additional information on the NZ property market is available from from Quotable Value
For those who want more information on the cost of a NZ home should listen to the interview on radionz with Jonno Ingerson   titled “Auckland property prices up 33% in 3 years”.

Effect of housing costs on disposable income

Disposal income (RGNDI) defined:- measures the purchasing power of New Zealanders. Higher RGNDI per person shows that a nation has a greater capacity to deliver a better quality of life and standard of living to the population.

RGNDI measures the total income, adjusted for inflation, that New Zealand residents receive, not only from domestic production but also from the net income flows with the rest of the world.

The median income in NZ is low

The average household income is almost 2x the median income

New Zealand Income Survey – June 2013 Quarter

Based on the information below the median income is approximately $43,000 -45,000 per annum

Between the June 2012 and June 2013 quarters:

  • Median weekly income from wages and salaries (for those receiving income from this source) was $844, up $38 (4.8 percent).
  • Median hourly earnings were $21.58, up 72 cents (3.5 percent).
  • Median weekly income for all people from all sources was $575.
  • The proportion of people aged 15–24 years earning wage and salary income was down 0.7 percentage points to 15.6 percent.
  • The proportion of people aged 50 years and over (50+) earning wage and salary income was up 1.3 percentage points to 31.0 percent.


The average household income is seen as a less reliable indicator of income than the median wage or median hourly rate

Visit Child wellbeing and Health page for effects on low incomes on child health

Visit the Equality page to find out more about the difference between incomes levels in NZ

(i) Household income: Between the years ending 30 June 2010 and 30 June 2013, average annual household income from:

  • all regular sources rose – from $76,733 to $85,588 (up 11.5 percent)
  • wages and salaries rose – from $75,526 to $84,462 (up 11.8 percent)
  • New Zealand Superannuation and war pensions rose – from $20,652 to $22,380 (up 8.4 percent).

(ii) Household expenditure: Between the years ending 30 June 2010 and 30 June 2013:

  • average weekly household expenditure increased by 9.1 percent – from $1,019 to $1,111
  • the largest changes in average weekly household expenditure were on transport (up $27 to $158),
  • food (up $15 to $193), and housing and household utilities (up $21 to $273)
  • average weekly rent payments increased by $32 – to $275

Cost of renting is high

In 2012/13,

  • 35.5 percent of households that did not own their dwelling spent more than 30 percent of their household income on their housing costs,
  • 23.1 percent spending more than 40 percent.

In contrast

  • 11.9 percent of those who owned, or partly owned, their dwelling spent30 percent or more of their household income on housing costs, and
  • 5.6 percent spent 40 percent or more.

From Household Economic Survey 2013