New Zealand’s ‘housing crisis’ dominates domestic issues as New Zealand heads towards September election

Content supplied by Roy Morgan Research

A recent Roy Morgan survey on the ‘Most Important Problems facing New Zealand’ showed Government/ Public Policy/ Housing issues 41% (up 1% since October 2016) are clearly the most important set of problems facing New Zealand according to a representative cross-sample of 1,000 New Zealanders interviewed in January 2017.

Dominating these concerns are the Housing-related issues of Housing affordability/ Increasing house prices (15%) and Housing shortage/ Homeless/ Homelessness (11%) – mentioned unprompted by a total of 26% of New Zealanders as the biggest problem facing New Zealand.

Prime Minister Bill English has announced the New Zealand Election will be held on Saturday September 23 – almost three years to the day since former Prime Minister John Key led National to its last election victory. Today’s survey results show that if English is to secure an election victory later this year he will have to convince New Zealanders he has worthwhile policy solutions to the ‘Housing Crisis’ facing more than a quarter of the New Zealand electorate.

Analysis of the Impact of New Zealand’s ‘Housing Crisis’

By Gender

  • Women: (27%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (14%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (13%);
  • Men: (25%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (17%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (8%).

By Age

  • 18-24: (26%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (17%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (9%);
  • 25-34: (25%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (15%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (10%);
  • 35-49: (29%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (18%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (11%);
  • 50+: (26%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (13%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (13%).

By Location

  • Auckland: (32%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (20%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (12%);
  • Wellington: (20%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (15%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (5%);
  • Other Northern: (23%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (12%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (11%);
  • Canterbury: (22%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (13%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (9%);
  • Other Southern: (28%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (13%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (15%).

By Political Affiliation

  • National: (26%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (15%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (11%);
  • Labour: (35%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (20%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (15%);
  • Greens: (11%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (8%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (3%);
  • NZ First: (15%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (15%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (0%);
  • Other*: (22%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (17%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (5%).

*Other includes Maori Party, Act NZ, United Future, Internet Party, Mana Party, Conservative Party of New Zealand and Other.

By Employment Status

  • Employed FT: (26%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (17%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (9%);
  • Employed PT: (25%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (13%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (12%);
  • Retired: (24%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (7%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (17%);
  • Other*: (28%) – House prices/ Housing affordability (18%); Housing shortage/ Homeless (10%).

*Other includes – Looking for full-time or part-time work, Students, Non-Workers and Home duties.

Comments made by New Zealanders about New Zealand’s ‘Housing crisis’

Of those who mentioned “House prices and Housing affordability”

“The cost of housing going up due to the demand from offshore buyers around the world.”

“Immigration. People are really struggling to get their foot in door for housing”

“Housing and Immigration – cost and Immigration of older people.”

 “Rising house prices.”

“The house prices, a lot of people can’t afford to buy a house.”

“The housing crisis, like the housing prices in Auckland.”

“The increasing cost of housing is out of control and not sustainable and it will crash.”

“Mainly housing issues like the extremely high prices in Auckland.”

“Housing – the price of renting is killing people.”

“Rental prices have gone sky high.”

“An overheated property market.”

“Housing. It’s just too expensive to buy or rent.”

“Property prices because it’s an unsustainable economic situation.”

“Can’t afford housing – especially new owners.”

 “The increasing costs of housing, It’s out of control.”

 “Housing for first time owners.”

“Housing prices – it’s too expensive for first home buyers to get into the housing market.”

 “The price of housing and the inability of the average New Zealander to afford a house.”

“It’s expensive and overpriced real estate and people can’t afford housing.”

Of those who mentioned the “Housing shortage/ Homeless/ Homelessness”

“Housing crisis.”

“Homeless people and poverty.”

 “Housing and jobs – there’s a lot of people that have no housing and can’t afford housing.”

“The increasing house prices and the rising number of homeless.”

 “Housing and jobs. Need more of both created in order for things to become more affordable.”

“Homeless people and inequality.”

“Homelessness, especially among younger people.”

“Lack of housing availability.”

“Homelessness and poverty – the number of families living in poverty has been increasing.”

“Homelessness. When people are begging on the streets it gives a different perspective of your city.”

“Lack of housing, homelessness increases and more people end up in poverty.”

“Housing and the poor management of demand and supply.”

“Housing crisis. People want to live here I guess.”

“Homelessness. People sleeping in cars and garages and on the streets.”

“The homeless – there really needs to be something done about it like boarding houses.”

“Housing – there’s a shortage of affordable housing which is creating homelessness.”

“The accessibility to housing in New Zealand is poor. It’s very difficult for people to own a home in New Zealand due to the high prices.”

“There’s a growing lack of affordable housing in New Zealand.”

“The lack of affordable housing in New Zealand is in turn creating an increase in homelessness.”

“Lack of housing for people.”

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan says:

“New Zealand’s ‘Housing Crisis’ – mentioned by 26% of New Zealanders 15% (Housing affordability/ Increasing house prices) and 11% (Housing shortage/ Homelessness) as the biggest problems facing New Zealand in January is the key issue for New Zealand electors heading towards this year’s election.

“Newly installed New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English announced in late January that New Zealand’s election would be held on Saturday September 23, 2017 – almost exactly three years to the day since former Prime Minister John Key won the 2014 New Zealand Election.

“In addition the recent Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2017 named New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland (population of 1.5 million) as the world’s fourth least affordable major housing market behind Hong Kong, Sydney and Vancouver. A staggering 32% of Auckland residents mentioned either Housing affordability/ Increasing house prices (20%) or Housing shortage/ Homelessness (12%) as the biggest problems facing New Zealand – clearly higher than any other city or region of New Zealand.

“Incredibly, New Zealand PM Bill English should know all about the Demographia Survey as now PM English is quoted in the opening notes to the paper saying: ‘It costs too long much and takes too long to build a house in New Zealand. Land has been made artificially scarce by regulation that locks up land for development. This regulation has made land supply unresponsive to demand’.

“The ‘Housing Crisis’ resonates across all age groups: 18-24 (26%); 25-34 (25%); 35-49 (29%) and 50+ (26%) and both genders: Women (27%) cf. men (25%). Perhaps most importantly for a Government seeking re-election, the analysis shows over a quarter of National supporters (26%) and over a third of Labour supporters (35%) consider the ‘Housing Crisis’ New Zealand’s biggest problem while interestingly this opinion is shared by only 15% of New Zealand First supporters and just 11% of Greens supporters.

“Given his remarks to the Demographia Survey at least New Zealand electors know that their Prime Minister knows about the problem – but will he be able to come up with policy solutions this year that show he is serious about tackling the problem? One thing is certain, if English fails to do so the Opposition parties including Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First will reap the rewards at this year’s election and possibly form Government.”

These findings come from a special New Zealand Roy Morgan survey conducted with New Zealanders aged 14+ asked what are the most important issues facing New Zealand and the World today.

In New Zealand, a cross-section of 1,000 men and women aged 14 or over were interviewed by telephone in January 2017. Respondents were asked: “Firstly, what do you think is the most important problem facing the World today?” and “What do you think is the most important problem facing New Zealand today?” The research conducted was both qualitative (in that people were asked to use their own words) and quantitative (in that the ‘open-ended’ responses were analysed and ‘coded’ so that the results could be counted and reported as percentages).

Most Important Problem Facing New Zealand

New Zealand

 

Jun
2015

Sep
2015

Jan
2016

Apr
2016

Jul
2016

Oct
2016

Jan
2017

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Increasing house prices/ Housing affordability

11

10

7

7

17

17

15

Homeless/ Homelessness/ Housing shortage

3

*

3

2

12

10

11

SUB-TOTAL HOUSING RELATED

14

10

10

9

29

27

26

Government/ Politicians/ Leadership/ Government Spending

8

10

7

9

6

6

6

Immigration/ Refugees

2

5

4

3

6

4

4

Education

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

Health Issues/ Disease/ Obesity/ Poor Health

1

1

1

1

2

*

1

Health System/ Shortage of Doctors/ Health Services

1

1

1

2

1

1

1

Benefits Given to the Maori/
Inequality Between Maori and Other Ethnic Groups

1

*

*

1

*

1

1

Not enough people/ People leaving New Zealand

1

1

-

*

*

*

*

TOTAL GOVERNMENT/ PUBLIC POLICY/
HOUSING/ HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

29

28

23

25

45

40

41

Poverty/ The Gap Between Rich & Poor/ Imbalance of Wealth

21

14

22

17

17

16

17

Economy/ Financial Crisis/ Recession/ Exchange Rate/ High Dollar

10

15

6

4

4

4

4

Cost of Living/ Inflation/ Financial Hardship/ Household Debt

4

3

3

4

2

3

3

Unemployment/ Job Security

5

6

7

7

4

5

3

Foreign Ownership/ Selling our Assets

1

1

1

*

1

1

1

Low Wages

1

*

1

1

1

2

1

Need to Increase Exports

1

*

5

8

2

1

1

Quake Recovery & Rebuilding – Christchurch, South Island, Wellington etc.

*

*

-

*

-

*

*

TOTAL ECONOMIC ISSUES

44

40

45

42

32

31

30

Drugs/ Alcohol Issues/ Drink Driving

2

1

1

*

1

2

2

Social Welfare System

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

Social Apathy/ Lack of Values/ Lack of Empathy Toward Others/ Intolerance

3

3

4

4

4

3

2

Breakdown of Family Unit/ Family Violence

1

1

*

1

1

1

1

Child Abuse/ Lack of Care of Children/ Bringing up Children Wrongly

3

7

1

2

2

2

1

Crime/ Law & Order

1

1

1

3

1

2

1

Greed/ Materialism

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Racism/ Racial Tension

1

2

2

2

1

1

1

Violence/ Gangs

*

*

1

*

1

1

1

Youth Issues such as Behaviour/ Pregnancies/ Crime/
Drinking/ Drugs/ Lack of Discipline

1

1

1

1

*

1

*

TOTAL SOCIAL ISSUES

13

17

14

16

13

15

12

Climate Change/ Global Warming

2

1

3

2

2

1

2

Environmental Issues/ Degradation

2

1

3

3

1

2

2

Environmental Pollution/ Water Pollution

*

*

1

1

1

1

2

(Other) Natural Disasters/ Tsunamis/ Floods/ Volcanic Eruptions

1

-

*

1

*

-

2

Earthquakes & Quake Damage – Christchurch, South Island, Wellington etc.

-

*

*

-

-

-

-

TOTAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES (INCLUDING CHRISTCHURCH)

5

3

7

7

3

4

8

Other

*

*

-

-

-

-

-

Can’t say

9

12

11

10

7

10

9

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.

Most Important Problems Facing New Zealand - February 2017

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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37 Comments

'Housing- the key election issue' and national does not have key to the housing crisis.

Infact are the reason why we have housing crisis today - National policy

While there is little doubt that Housing is the key issue , I differ with your assertion that National Govt. policies are to blame .

What National policy has caused this ?

Do we presume that National will not debate 'the key election issue' as they don't believe there is a housing crisis?

They know that they will not be able to debate much on housing crisis so is better to ignore and deny that their is an issue but one should remember that in election year as housing will be a major issue, whether they like it or not will have to face the questions.

mmmm "just about right....."

up
15

Look, guys, as Bill English, John Key and co have made clear over the last nine years, THERE IS NO HOUSING CRISIS.

This is all a sign of our success, it's a good thing! And as Bill's said, they DO NOT WANT prices to go down.

Sure, a few eggs might get broken along the way - there's always collateral damage. But these are probably just the young, lazy druggie eggs, so not really Kiwis of concern.

up
14

Housing and inequality are connected, Nationals tinkering has been a complete failure for its people and promises only to serve the rich feeding of the working poor.
Even those who've borrowed heavily well be collateral damage when the second GFC hits.

When is the second GFC going to hit? Should I put my life on hold because the second GFC will happen? I also have it on good authority that I'm going to live forever so should I just wait a generation or two before I buy a home?

Live within your means.
The burden of financial failure can screw ones life up for years

Immigration is the key issue. Take away immigration pressure and housing has a chance to catch up although traffic congestion, issues with medical, education, increased crime and the like are here to stay. Welcome to the future fellow Aucklanders.

Yes immigration is going to be right up there along with housing.

And Labour are all for immigration .............

Never vote for Labour!

OMG yes yes yes! Please #VoteForNational
The poll says it all - yay.

Young people, vote National and #RentTillYouDie

If Labour were clever, they would focus on immigration as much, if not more than, housing.
There's plenty of disgruntled Aucklanders who aren't disgruntled about housing, but are disgruntled about the insanely overloaded infrastructure, the mad traffic, the worsening environmental quality, the pressure on rates, and the widespread higher density promoted by the Unitary Plan.
Labour's policy should:
-cut low skilled immigration dramatically
- focus on upskilling unskilled kiwis
- sharply focus skilled immigration around the key technical areas desperately lacking at present

Agreed crux of election. Agree immigration needs to hold while roads, rail, sewage, water, schools and health all catch up.

Nats policy of no housing issue is asleep at the wheel, and will see them gone or married to Winston. Is this the real reason JK is gone?

Majority of home owners want status quo so will be the key to National getting elected again...'staggeringly' 68% of aucklanders don't see housing as an issue, nice hit job piece this one

If 68% of Aucklanders don't see housing as an issue, that is because of their vested interest in keeping inflated values.
They all see traffic congestion as an issue and as their schools can't get teachers and hospitals overflow they will vote on the real issue which is Immigration.
Most of the countries problems come back to immigration population growth.
Not many voters are totally stupid, most realize that this population growth has to be stopped.
Winston is the only poly who has the balls to speak out on this and has done for 20 yrs..
He will be king maker.
NZ has had enough!!

Question is, how long before the youth of New Zealand begins to connect the dots between the older generations' self-interest and their own lack of opportunity quickly becoming the norm in Auckland?

And what will be the outcomes when they finally do?

Ageism is already a problem; what more when they start to blame the older ones for a "I've got mine, stuff you lot" attitude that's removing their chances of owning a home?

NZ's history contains riots, industrial action etc. all to get a fair go. If the older, landed folk cannot vote beyond their own self-interest, who knows what may happen with the kids realise that's a big part of their predicament.

The young people will leave, because there is a mother-load of homes being built in Australia right now.

Then the older generation can have their homes and be happy. Obviously the homes will be worth a lot less.

The Nats don't want prices to go down. Trouble is, Labour is on record as saying the same.
I sort of hoped Bill English might surprise us but obviously not.His comments this week about Kiwi druggies being the reason not to stop unskilled immigration are staggering.

Do people here think they should be building houses on public reserves? see here for more http://save-point-england-reserve.blogspot.co.nz/

National is going to keep importing people as fast as they possibly can, and they have to go somewhere. That somewhere may just be your backyard.

That's only if we let them. surely we must do everything we can to stop them!!
I know people will agree or strongly disagree or something in between on wheater to try and stop them.
And of those people that want to do anything, some will have time and some won't, and the people that fall in between.

They go on about this being a stable government but I could equally say this is a majority government. nat have 59 seats, Maori party have 2 seats, Act have 1 and United future have 1. So they can pretty much do what they want, all they need is 2 votes(to make 61 votes in the house) from MP,ACT or UF to get anything passed. This scares me and is an eye opener(to my novice mind) to me on politics!

I'd prefer it to be built on golf courses, but yes, yes I do. Particularly if it contributes to a decline in house prices, rents and homelessness.

I hear what you are saying, but to me that is a big IF.
its a case by case basis but in this particular case I don't think the proposed 300 houses will do anything for house prices, rents and homelessness. I would need to be 90% sure it would affect house prices, rents and homelessness especially what is at stake, a public reserve, that benefits the greater community. This is not some unused field that nz transport no longer require. my 2c.

places like this should be used for housing as a last resort. Based on the minister he thinks it is a housing challenge and not a housing crisis, but yet he is resorting to this tactic. The question is what reserve is next? Or another question is how much green space is enough vs enough houses to tackle house prices, rents and homelessness. To me, this is not it.

The reason golf courses and reserves are being put forward for housing development in Auckland is the land is inside our rural urban boundary and therefore worth a fortune, when you can put houses on it. Our rural urban boundary is very restrictive, so we would need to convert the majority of our reserves to housing to solve the housing crisis (letting all the most well connected developers make vast fortunes).

Obviously the rural urban boundary could be made less restrictive and then there would be no profit motive to digging up reserves or creating massive polluting exurban sprawl (the main by product of the restrictive boundary). This would put the housing crisis well on the way to being solved.

But that would require some sort action on the part of Phil Goff.

so does that mean you think we should build on reserves and golf courses until the boundary is removed or extended? Again it is a case by case basis, but it does not look to promising for Auckland. if this is a boundary issue, I think there are lots of unused lands out there within the boundary that could be used better. maybe this should be addressed first before land that is public reserve land? thank you.

Something I have considered for some time now.
I believe landlords/ agencies have a black list of renters that have a record of bad behaviour.. from damaging homes, skipping on rent and general very poor tenants.
Or bottom line have no respect for the environment they live in.
Just how many of these are now considered homeless.. or tented in motels?
Is this no different than say chopping off ones legs to get a disabled parking card?
Why should these people... if exist, be included in as 'homeless'
They are not homeless because of housing shortage at all.. they are homeless because of their own choice of actions and disrespect . lack of consideration for others.
I would really like to know just what proportion of our 'homeless' 'qualify ' into this category of 'black listed'
It has seemed to me, this homeless situation has increased as landlords have taken a organised stand against wilful destruction of their investments.

Because as much as there are crappy tenants, there are also crappy landlords.
In any normal functioning city where (unlike Auckland) they build new homes, the crappy landlords would be getting the crappy tenants or the crappy landlords would be going broke.

If only there were a way for a Labour Party politician (Phil Goff - for instance) to demonstrate an even minimal level of competence with regards to Auckland's housing crisis. Labour could position themselves as a party of ideas and action, if only there were something they could do.

http://www.labour.org.nz/government_should_abolish_auckland_urban_growth...

Problem is , no ones going to vote to reduce the value of their house/ houses. That stymies any real policy to fix the housing problem, and why National hasn;'t done much.

Some are - the ones for whom on paper wealth has not been taken out to invest in further property, but who have all the same watched the opportunities available to their children and grandchildren shrivel away under this "sell everything to everyone" National government.

It's not the Government that is "selling everything to everyone" - it's individuals making their own decisions about whether, when, how and on what terms to dispose of their own property.

If you don't want to sell your house, or your land, at all, or you don't want to sell to a foreigner or an investor, or if you don't want to get the best price you can - the Government will not force you to do so.

If you do, the Government will not prevent you from doing so.

Is it your contention that the Government should?

Previous NZ governments have very much made policy on the basis of what's good for Kiwis - not just the one, present generation, but multiple. This included through measures such as land tax to break up land banks and give average Kiwis a chance to own their own land, government builds, cheap government leasehold land to encourage building etc. These are the things that made homes affordable for those fortunate enough to be born at the right time.

Land was a big issue in New Zealand in the past...even whether it should be freehold was a major discussion point.

Politicians - and those lucky enough to be born at the right time - need to consider that they have a responsibility to young and even future generations, just as past generations left them something decent.

New Zealand wasn't always only about the selfish needs of one generation lucky enough to be born at the time they enjoyed the benefits given by those preceding them, but thought nothing of what they pass on.

That said - other governments have recognised this responsibility in overseas locales, and implemented measures such as:

- Foreign Purchase stamp duty, recognising that the housing needs of locals should have some priority.
- Limiting foreign purchases to new builds (e.g. as Australia does).
- Using land tax to address undesirable land banking.

No need to prevent people selling houses to foreigners, but we do need to address the current situation that only benefit those born at the right time at the expense of all who follow after them.

mmm
but meaningful policy would have little chance of dropping prices anyway.
It would be a pretty good achievement if policy could keep them stable.
For example, I doubt whether introduction of a CGT, greater restrictions on foreign property investment, and more permissive planning collectively would drop prices, other than a short term minor effect. But I'm pretty confident it would limit increases and bubbles.
And that wouldn't disadvantage anyone, except for the minority of the population who are speculators.

Conversely if little is done - ie. the status quo under National - and the bubble expands and expands, the risk of a really nasty and damaging crash grows.

Which means, we've put a lot of our eggs in one basket