Kiwi home ownership levels sink
The level of home ownership in New Zealand has slipped to just two-thirds of the population.
Thursday, December 13th 2001, 5:49PM
by Jenny Ruth
And although we think of ourselves as being high up in the home ownership stakes, we now rank only eighth, according to Massey Universitys Professor Bob Hargreaves.
Back in 1986, more New Zealanders owned their own homes than any other nationality.
Now, "Singapore (90%) is a clear leader in owner-occupied housing, followed by Taiwan (85%) and Spain (81%)," Hargreaves says in his latest commentary on the New Zealand rental housing market.
Ireland, Belgium, Australia and Britain all have higher levels of home ownership than New Zealand does, he estimates.
But Hargreaves survey shows home ownership levels arent necessarily linked to wealth. Home ownership is Switzerland, "one of the richest countries in the world," is only about 30%.
"Clearly, ownership has cultural as well as affordability considerations," he says.
However, most New Zealanders do aspire to home ownership.
Hargreaves notes that one group of Kiwi renters could afford to buy their own homes but choose not to. "This group may have alternative investment strategies which at least equate with the returns from housing investment," he says.
Other renters though, and these are thought to be the majority, cant afford to buy a house either because they lack the capital for a deposit or have insufficient debt servicing capability or both.
"The worry is that this latter group is getting larger as the percentage of New Zealanders owning their own house continues to reduce," Hargreaves says.
For those who do rent, Hargreaves finds
rents have been static in the last three months, over the last
year and in the last two and a half years. The national median
is $190 a week with the cheapest place to rent being Invercargill
at $110 a week and the most expensive being Auckland at $275 a
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