Housing

House prices relative to inflation

Brian Easton

This Briefing Paper is part of a longer report on housing prices, available on The Policy Observatory website, here.     Historically housing prices in New Zealand have risen a little faster than consumer prices, but the increase has been sharper since 2001, except for the period when the Global
 

Public Debt: How Low Should It Go?

Brian Easton

I asked him [Keynes] if he would borrow if he were in New Zealand in order to get through the crisis. Keynes replied, ‘Yes, certainly if I were you I would borrow if I could, but if you asked me as a lender I doubt whether I would lend to
 

Cost is not Price: The impact of Productivity and Design in Housing Affordability

John Tookey

Circa 2005-2006 the Auckland housing market was dubbed ‘unsustainable’ and a ‘dangerous bubble’. Six years post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) we are in a very different place – in many ways a worse place. The government response to GFC was pressure on interest rates downwards, making expensive mortgages significantly cheaper, thus
 

Over-investing in housing

Brian Easton

While housing obviously fills a need – people need somewhere to live – it also has an investment aspect. How this investment is treated by the tax system influences the housing market, and the investment available for other purposes, such as business ventures.   There is an implicit tax-subsidy to
 

Social versus state housing

Alan Johnson

‘It’s why we talk about “social housing” rather than “state housing”, because you no longer have to live in a state house to get a high level of government housing support. It’s an important change.’ – John Key, State of the nation speech to Auckland Rotary Club, January 2015.  
 

Social housing?

Philippa Howden-Chapman

There has been a steady fall in the number of state houses since the change of government at the end of 2008, both in absolute numbers and in relation to our rapidly growing population. Like state schools, the state housing stock is a critical part of our social infrastructure. State
 

Think Big: Auckland, immigration, and the absence of income growth

Michael Reddell

Of the biggest cities in each advanced economy, Auckland has been one of the fastest growing. Just in the last 15 years, Auckland’s population has grown by 30 per cent, while the population in the rest of the country has risen by 13 per cent. Many argue that big cities
 

House-busters

Arthur Grimes

This article first appeared in The Spinoff on 4 July 2016.   In March 2016, the REINZ Auckland median house price reached $820,000. Four years previously, it was $495,000 – that’s a 66% increase in 4 years. What’s more alarming is that in 2012, many people considered that house prices
 

Filling the land tax void

Ranjana Gupta

The tax system plays multiple roles. In addition to being a fundamental instrument to raise revenues that finances government expenditure, it also acts as an instrument to achieve the economic and social aims of government, and redistributes income on a socially acceptable basis.   Classical economist Adam Smith developed the
 

Challenges In Auckland’s Residential Construction Sector

Chris Parker

There are a number of challenges facing the building industry in Auckland, around scale, quality, efficiency and price. Scaling up the building sector raises questions: What are the crowd-out risks for other sectors in Auckland, as the building sector tries to outbid them for labour and materials? How can public
 

The Housing We’d Choose

Alison Reid

Auckland is at a turning point in how it must think about and deliver housing solutions. According to Statistics New Zealand’s medium projections, Auckland’s population is anticipated to grow by a further 517,000 people in the next 20 years. This growth will be driven by natural increase (births minus deaths)
 

Housing And Transport: Proximity Matters

Peter Nunns

The decisions that individuals and societies make about housing are deeply linked to decisions about transport. The ways in which people get around are affected by where they live and how their neighbourhoods are designed. And transport, in turn, has a host of broader effects. It affects our happiness and
 

Real Estate Debt And The Balance Of Trade

John Walley

Auckland has a housing problem but this is not just a problem for Aucklanders, or new home buyers. Out of control asset inflation – as seen in the Auckland housing market – is toxic to the real economy, destroying our ability to deliver a long-run neutral balance of trade. High
 

High House Prices: A Blunder Of Our Governments

Michael Reddell

There has been a strong sense this year that “something must be done” about high house prices, especially those in Auckland. To date, however, the policy responses display little awareness of how previous policy choices have made New Zealand housing increasingly unaffordable over the last couple of decades. Blaming investors
 

The Problem With Migration

Bernard Hickey

We’re now having a fractious debate about foreign buying of houses, but the more important and tougher debate we should be having is about migration. Does it actually generate the right type of long term economic growth, or does it just pump up house prices and interest rates, suppress wages
 

Rental Standards

Philippa Howden-Chapman

Every year people die prematurely in winter in New Zealand, a phenomenon unheard of in the coldest parts of Europe and North America, where houses are built and heated to protect people from winter cold. People are more likely to die in winter in New Zealand if they live in
 

Where’s The Plan?

Alison Cadman

I remember the event but can’t quite remember where it took place. I remember the atmosphere – a sense of relief and excitement that at last there was a plan to address New Zealand’s increasing housing problems. And I remember that the then Minister of Housing was at the event,
 

Bubble Trouble

Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy

As of May 2015, the average house price in the greater Auckland region was $828,502. In May 2012, it was only $562,454. That is nearly a 50% increase over only three years. Can anything justify this incredible growth in prices, or is it all a bubble? Peter C.B. Phillips and
 

Understanding Housing Affordability

Arthur Grimes

Housing affordability is a multi-faceted, complex issue. Concentration on just one aspect of the issue – be it housing supply, land supply, interest rates, construction costs or migration – will miss important aspects of why house prices vary in different locations at different times. In this briefing paper, we illustrate
 

Generation Rent

Shamubeel & Selena Equab

Home ownership is a defining characteristic of being a Kiwi. It had been an attainable aspiration for more in each generation, but it ended with the baby boomers. After rising for nearly a century, home ownership has been falling since 1991 and is now at the lowest level since 1951.
 

A Short Term Budget?

Brian Easton

Third term governments always look tired. Policies developed in opposition have been implemented (usually with more difficulty and less effect than expected), ambitions – such as exporting 40 percent of GDP – are nowhere near deliverable (and in truth, never were), unexpected issues prove tiresome and intractable and whenever you
 

Housing New Zealand’s Children

Alan Johnson

Access to adequate housing is at the heart of ensuring a healthy environment in which children can thrive. Other briefings have talked about health, incomes and child protection issues. Each of these, along with educational outcomes, are influenced positively if housing for families is stable, secure, and of good quality.
 

Housing Economy Played Like a Monopoly Game

Christine Rose

The housing crisis is the issue of the moment but is at risk of being appropriated by a multitude of interests, many of them vested, each who frame the debate – and the solutions, in their own ways. There are at least two important elements – a housing affordability problem,
 

Boarding Houses – Breaking the Cycle

David Zussman

Once again the spotlight falls on the never ending merry-go-round of families living in boarding houses. It’s not just boarding houses – there are families living in caravan parks, overcrowded houses and garages and some are even sleeping overnight in cars and tents. Back in 2008, boarding houses were described