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Research shows a net loss of Aucklanders to the rest of the country of 33,000 during the last Auckland housing boom

Research shows a net loss of Aucklanders to the rest of the country of 33,000 during the last Auckland housing boom

There was a net loss of Aucklanders to other parts of the country of nearly 33,000 during the last Auckland housing boom, according to new research.

The population of Auckland continued to grow strongly during that period - but this was mainly due to large numbers of migrants (a net 141,000) entering Auckland during that period.

Internally, however, there was a large and increasing exodus of people from Auckland to other parts of the country.

Economist Benjie Patterson has crunched information from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) for the period 2014-17. The IDI is a large administrative dataset that links together several government sources into a centralised database about people and households. The data in IDI is being used by Statistics NZ to patch up Census 2018.

He's found that in the 2014-17 period the exodus from Auckland was increasing. In 2014 the net loss was 2,727, increasing to 6,924 in 2015, 10,332 in 2016 and 12,942 in 2017.

The figures coincide with the period in which Auckland house prices were rocketing and becoming increasingly unaffordable.

“Auckland’s regional migration losses are not surprising when one considers the deterioration to housing affordability that occurred in Auckland over that period,” Patterson said.

“Net regional migration out of Auckland is characterised by high net outflows of people in their late twenties and through their thirties with children.”

Patterson said he was concerned that the exodus of productive workers to other parts of New Zealand during the peak years of their working life exacerbates skills shortages in Auckland’s labour market.

“These gaps have been partly filled by international migrants, but as international migration policy settings tighten, an increased focus on retaining youth and attracting young families to Auckland will be needed.”

The common view is that most of those leaving Auckland go to Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Northland. And sure enough the research shows 68% of those leaving between 2013 and 2017 went to those regions. But there were some more surprising destinations favoured too.

Patterson’s analysis shows that Dunedin and Queenstown-Lakes have each experienced total net population gains from Auckland of more than 1,100 residents over the four years to June 2017.

Patterson said this evidence supports anecdotal media reports that have been partly attributing Dunedin’s renaissance to Aucklanders choosing the city as a place to work, live, and do business.

“Queenstown’s gain also highlights that the resort’s overheated property market has in part been driven by cashed-up Auckland buyers – one of the few areas where housing equity is generally enough to enter the local market,” he said.


Patterson says these regional migrants from Auckland have benefited other parts of New Zealand, initially by pushing up local spending, but then longer-term through adding to these areas’ productive workforces.

Patterson says the only age grouping for which Auckland gains residents from other parts of New Zealand is the 20-24 year age group.

"However, the inward trend reverses once these young adults begin to have families."

Net regional migration outflows also accelerate as people reach retirement, he says.

"The allure of selling an Auckland home to free up equity for a cheaper house in the regions is proving too difficult to resist for many people." 

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Definitely see the appeal of Tauranga & Whangarei. Hamilton/Waikato not so much (sorry Houseworks)

Loads of aucklanders coming down to Cambridge too.

Cambridge I can actually see the appeal of too - got that upper class horse people type country feel to it. My only Waikato exception.

upper class horse people type country feel to it.

Sounds awful. Faux high society communities would be tiresome.

Upper class horse people type country feel sounds pretty good to me. Nice town center, people unlikely to want to steal your belongings or litter, quiet countryside with lots of horses and a river. You know what I find tiresome? People that call other people tiresome.

BLSH, you're sounding tiresome. The exodus of Aucklanders is much dependant on their ability to sell, gain employment and be sure of locking in financial and lifestyle benefits in the chosen region. It's all starting to fall over rover. Many people can wish but, as each day passes, fewer and fewer are able to realize their dream. For Aucklanders to satisfy todays retreating buyers, financial sacrifice is unavoidable. The regions are slowing right now because of it. "Just under 20 per cent of Auckland suburbs experienced value drops of more than 5 per cent and seven suburbs - Kumeu, Whitford, Albany, Herne Bay, Pukekohe East, Ti Point and Sunnynook - suffered double-digit slumps"

I'm betting you never saw that coming. It's only just the beginning!

Retired, have you thought about your own options, in between the family home and the retirement unit? You dont like the "upper class country town" for you it's the "quaint" baches of mangakino

Houseworks, who knows, one day I might even consider moving next door to you in Bader Street but only if you move out (I value an uninterrupted sleep)

RP, starting to get some quite large falls in Auckland. "Kumeu on the city's north western fringe is New Zealand's biggest faller, dropping 18 per cent on a year ago (from $1.455m to $1.195m), while Albany is down more than 12 per cent."

They need stable financial lifestyle

Their decision to move from Auckland to Cambridge was a spur of the moment decision

They don't want to be saddled with so much debt, in their unbridled passion for the regions. The nightmare of Auckland though is real, as prices are being reined in and the dream of getting the bit between one's teeth and heading for greener pastures, there are those who will be hobbled by falling values in Auckland and rising ones in the regions. This will sort the chaff from the hay, though.

"Cambridge ... My only Waikato exception."
And Raglan?

Christchurch and Wellington didn't even make the Top 10. I wonder how many houses have gone in at Pokeno, which is part of the Waikato region?

Unfortunately, Hamilton is stuck with that STD capital of NZ and Lisa Lewis otherwise is an ok place to live!

Don't let one bad experience in Hamilton put you off.

STD or Lisa? I am sure both can be fixed with Penicillin

Board meeting didn't go well ?

I shared this article in the comments section yesterday but seems more apt on this article. Urban centres at the receiving end of the exodus from Auckland have been witnessing accommodation crises of their own.

Tauranga is just as bad as Auckland now, and only getting worse - it will be quicker to get to Auckland from Papamoa going via Whakatane soon, traffic is so bad.

Whangarei is one of the wettest cities in the North Island based on rainfall - not rainy days.

But still two decent places.

Check the stats Korki, Whangarei has more rainfall and yet more sunshine hours than Auckland........ when it rains it rains!

"Hamilton/Waikato not so much (sorry Houseworks)"
No offence taken BLSH you are not alone in your opinion...Many people say they dont like the waikato winter weather, for 3 months of the year we have "bad" weather. While Auckland has "bad" traffic all year around...Take your pick.


So an exodus of prime first and second home buyers, to be replaced by foreign students and temporary migrants who cant buy houses. That explains the "housing shortage" that is clearly not a shortage at all.

Exactly. Most analysis is based on aggregate data which can be really dangerous.
And add to the foreign students and temporary migrants, permanent but moderate-wage migrants, many of whom will struggle to buy.

We moved from Auckland down to Napier a couple of years back. It has been a good move lifestyle wise and given what has happened to house prices (Napier up a lot, Auckland flat at best), we've done ok. Napier is not perfect and there are a few drawbacks but overall, I am happy we made the move when we did.

"Skills shortage" in Auckland? It's not even the city with the highest per capita income in New Zealand. Actually that makes the house price run-up even more ridiculous.

There was a 55% drop in resident visa applications under the Skilled Migrant Category when the government introduced a median income threshold on the primary applicant's wage back in 2016. You don't have to look beyond this number to understand the quality of skills in demand in NZ.

The top 3 occupations by permanent visas issued from 2104 to 2019 are Chef, Retail Managers and Cafe Managers. Over the same period, more permanent visas have been issued to IT support workers than IT developers, programmers and software engineers combined.

Problem is too, for many of those who did make it in on low incomes via hospitality then end up being subsidised by the government via WFF or the Accommodation Supplement later. A couple of children in the house and low incomes and boom, you're on subsidies. It's absurd that the Restaurant Association and the industry are pushing for high immigration volumes to work around supply and demand and push down wages, while expecting taxpayers to pick up the subsidy tab that happens later.

I worked in IT for 45 years. The difference between an experienced programmer and an average IT support guy is immense. I've met a few excellant Kiwi computer programmers and analysts - all of them working abroad. INZ doesn't know the difference between creative valuable IT staff and dummies. I ought to know since I had to meet their 'skill' criteria 16 years ago. The only sensible distinction is how much they are paid and even then you end up with some expensive dummies.

That will be why there are another 5,000 cars on the roads in Tauranga. Add this to the 5,000 trucks that Port of Tauranga has pinched off Ports of Auckland & you can see we have our own mini transport crisis here in the Beautiful Bay. And that'll be why Jacinda stopped the road improvement programme dead in its tracks this time last year. Thanks Jacinda. Great governing!!!

Maybe the National party should've done something about it during the 9 years they were in office. That road north to Paeroa is an absolute disgrace. I don't know why the council allowed Omokoroa to be built out without a dual carriageway all the way into town. Dumb dumb dumb.

It’s NZ is why the roading wasn’t doubled
Maybe a nice cycleway
I’m sure they’d find the money

Mt Maunganui
Playground for Waikato farmers
A National Treasure
I hope the boom in Tauranga does not destroy its character

Oh no, it's an Auckodus. Worse than Brexit.

No Aucklanders & All NZers were never offered a chance to vote like Brexit

I'm looking forward to the census results on how many empty properties there are now in Auckland. It's a lot.

Like the spreading of an infection, the disease attaching itself to the regional hosts, to repeat the same suck it to death and destroy. Soon there will be no regions to run to and the host will begin feeding upon itself.

Thanks Mr Politician for bringing over population to our once awesome little country...

The great thing is that Mr Twyford is the Minister of Transport!
He will get it sorted, as he has with being in charge of KiwiFlop!

far too many systemic problems built up over the years..right back to Mayor Robbie to hang it one one man. Try being politically neutral and critique by policy and action. Vote em out if they don't do in exit National last time. And next time if the current mob haven't stepped them out.

Problem is we have tribalism...people who always vote with the tribe no matter what c## they deliver.

Rasta’s you have MMP you have multi choice voting Stop complaining

How are the shellfish doing around Auckland these days ?
I don’t require an answer
Terribly depleated

Tauranga is looking good, been watching the property down there for a few months. Those of you that complain about the traffic down there clearly have not been to Auckland for a while, you don't know what a traffic jam is. Will be staying well out of Tauranga central, have never liked it there. There is also way more jobs down there than there used to be and the number of industries have diversified with the increasing population. No longer a huge gap in property prices however so don't plan on banking half your Auckland sale price anymore.

In my opinion, Tauranga is relatively pleasant but bland, dull and conservative.
Much prefer Napier.

Fritz you just like Splash Planet that’s all

Whats new about this. I had an academic year in Auckland in the 80s and was amazed at the shortage of cash in the pockets of Aucklanders. Other NZers have much more. Probably hen mortgaege related and now presumably the same but much worse.
I have heard Auckland described as useful if you have you are a corporate plodder. But the rest of New Zealand is for the entreprenuers and creative business people who are independently minded.

God save us from self-righteous provincialism.

KH you surely cannot be serious ?
Auckland contributes more than anywhere else in NZ to the NZ economy
If Auckland wasn’t there NZ would be like a barn

I am perfectly serious Northern Lights. Believe what you like about 'contribution'. But my point this time was simple. Aucklanders have less money in their pockets. Accept that straightforward fact at lesst.
Don't get me wrong - I know Auckland well and go there several times a year. I grew up in Mount Eden. I have a great time when I return.
But the economic treadmill there is difficult.

You are spot on. Youngsters on the average wage have to pay sky high rents and outrageous travel costs, whether you drive and park, or catch a bus or train. Please don't mention just doesn't work for most people for various reasons.

It's not only people that have been leaving Auckland, it's also large business especially in Tech that have closed up and moved on to Wellington or overseas. Due to the high cost of living making it very difficult for them to attract and retain staff.

Left Auckland the country in 2015 myself
The National government never asked NZers they just opened the gates & let more immigrants into NZ on a per capita population basis than what happened in the United Kingdom where their massive immigration contributed to the Brexit vote
God Save NZ it’s changed forever

We moved up to Matakana. Got a new house on a lifestyle block with views for the price of a dump in Takapuna and still had a bit left over. Can get into Aukland in 50 minutes IF we avoid the rush hour. Albany just 30 minutes away.

I dont understand the fuss about Hamilton. Its still dead. Where is the job market exactly or is it just the student town?

But lots of apartments in the CBD. In Hamilton ?