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Affordable, healthy homes increasingly out of reach for Kiwi families

Holly Walker MP
Holly Walker MP
holly [dot] walker [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
Young families are being locked out of home ownership by rising house prices, and high rents

New statistics show that home ownership has fallen to a new low and families are increasingly being locked into unaffordable renting, Green Party housing spokesperson Holly Walker said today.

The Household Economic Survey, released by Statistics New Zealand today, shows that the homeownership rate, including homes owned by family trusts, has fallen from 70% five years ago to 65% in 2012. A record 562,000 families now pay rent, up 106,000 in five years.

The figures show families locked into renting are finding housing costs increasingly unaffordable with 215,000 renting families now paying over 30% of their incomes on housing up from 181,000 in 2008 when this figure was first reported. 30% of income is the generally recognised affordability limit for housing.

"Young families are being locked out of home ownership by rising house prices, and high rents," said Ms Walker.

"The homeownership rate has plunged to just 65% and a record 562,000 families are renting. More than 200,000 families are now paying over 30% of their income on rent.

"Young families are locked in a catch-22 situation. They can't afford to compete with wealthy property investors to buy their own homes, and they can't save up a decent deposit because those property investors demand high rents to make a profit. Instead, they are stuck paying a large slice of their incomes for homes that are often poorly insulated and unhealthy.

"Neither National's plan for 600 expensive houses in Hobsonville nor Labour's plan to get more affordable housing to market address the problem that most renting families are unable to get together a deposit in the first place. Nor will they address the fact that many rentals are poorly insulated.

"A Green Party Member's Bill, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (Warm Healthy Rentals Warrant of Fitness) Amendment Bill, currently in the ballot would address part of the problem by setting insulation standards for rental properties, ensuring that the over half a million families who are renting have warm, healthy homes to live in.

"The Heat Smart scheme has proven government can successfully work alongside business and community groups to fix a housing problem while easing the cost for families in need. We need a similar solution on affordable housing," said Ms Walker.

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