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Owner-Occupied Households
Introduction

Important Information | National Trend | Regional Trend | Territorial Authority Trend

Tenure of Household Tables

This profile conveys information about the six dimensions of housing adequacy.

National Trend

In the nineteenth century, European settlers hoped to build a society in New Zealand free from the vagaries and oppression of the "Old World". They regarded land ownership as a key means of achieving independence and acquiring status. This need for independence was epitomised by the drive for home ownership, and, as a result, high home ownership rates have been apparent throughout the twentieth century. The 1919 Census revealed a high level of home ownership (53 percent), compared with one-fifth of this figure for Britain at the time.1 However, this traditional home ownership ethic may now be changing. Figures for the last three censuses have recorded a decrease in the home ownership rate, although the number of households owning continues to increase.

Commentators have suggested that a number of factors may have contributed to this decline in home ownership, both financial and social. Financial considerations such as increased debt burdens caused by student loans may have delayed home ownership by affecting the ability of individuals to access mortgages. Some people may have chosen to rent because they perceive that other forms of investment may give a higher return, a trend reinforced by greater job mobility. There have also been significant social changes that may have impacted on home ownership and reduced the demand for traditional housing: the later forming of couple households, later childbirth or couples choosing to be child free. Increasing ethnic diversity may also be a factor, with different cultures following their own expectations of housing, perhaps prioritising other expenditure instead of having home ownership as a goal.

As figure 1 shows, in 1991, almost three-quarters (73.8 percent) of total households in New Zealand lived in a home that they owned. By 1996, this figure had decreased to 70.7 percent and by 2001 the ownership rate was 67.8 percent. The percentage change in the number of owner-occupied households, between 1991 and 2001, was just 2.3 percent while New Zealand's population increased by 10.8 percent. In 2001, the total number of households that owned the homes they lived in was 868,656 compared with 848,913 in 1991.

1Abbott M, Kearns R and Smith C (1992). “A Tale of Two Cities: The Experience of Housing Problems in Auckland and Christchurch”, New Zealand Geographer, 48, 3.

Figure 1

Graph, Percentage of Households that Own and Do Not Own the Dwelling They Occupy.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, Census of Population and Dwellings, 1991, 1996 and 2001

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Regional Trend

All regions followed the national trend of a decreasing home ownership rate between 1991 and 2001. Tasman Region, in 2001, at 75.8 percent, had the highest proportion of owner-occupied households. The second highest was Southland Region, at 75.5 percent. Southland had previously held the highest home ownership rate at the time of both the 1996 Census (77.7 percent) and 1991 Census (80.3 percent). Nelson Region had the greatest change in the home ownership rate, down 8.7 percentage points to 68.6 percent in 2001.
Taranaki Region had the smallest change, down 3 percentage points to reach 72 percent in 2001.

In 2001, 53.4 percent of all owner-occupied households in New Zealand were in the Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury Regions. As figure 2 shows, Auckland Region had the highest number of owner-occupied households, at 236,439 in 2001 (up from 227,559 in 1991). This was followed by Canterbury Region with 127,143 owner-occupied households in 2001.

Figure 2

Graph, Number of Owner-Occupied Households by Region.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, Census of Population and Dwellings, 1991, 1996 and 2001

While overall home ownership rates between 1991 and 2001 declined proportionately in some regions, the numbers of owner-occupied dwellings increased, reflecting their overall growth in population. Tasman Region saw the largest percentage increase in the number of owner-occupied households over the period 1991 to 2001, rising 17 percent. No other region increased by over 10 percent. The second largest increase was in neighbouring Marlborough (9.4 percent) followed by Bay of Plenty Region (7 percent). In contrast, the number of owner-occupied households in Southland Region decreased by 7.9 percent between 1991 and 2001. The next two largest decreases were in Gisborne Region, down 4.6 percent, and in West Coast Region, down 4.2 percent.

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Territorial Authority Trend

Of the territorial authorities in 2001, Christchurch City had the most owner-occupied households in the country (80,076), which represented 9.2 percent of all owner-occupied households in New Zealand. Christchurch City has held this position in all three census years between 1991 and 2001. Auckland City was the second highest with 68,481 or 7.9 percent, and Manukau City was third, with 50,799 or 5.8 percent of all owner-occupied households.

Forty-two territorial authorities recorded an increase in the number of owner-occupied households between 1991 and 2001, while 32 experienced a decrease. At the two extremes, Queenstown-Lakes District had a numerical increase of 1,269 owner-occupied households over the 10 years (56 percent), reflecting the growth in popularity of this area of the country, while Kawerau District, by contrast, decreased by 456 households, a decline of 23.3 percent. Five other territorial authorities increased their number of owner-occupied households by over 20 percent: Selwyn District (41.7 percent), Waimakariri District (31.6 percent), Rodney District (26.7 percent), Western Bay of Plenty District (26.4 percent) and Franklin District (22.9 percent).

Waimakariri District had the highest percentage of owner-occupied households as a proportion of all households in each of the last three censuses (see figure 3). Fifty-three territorial authorities had a higher home ownership rate than the national average of 67.8 percent in 2001, but only 11 territorial authorities increased their home ownership rate between 1991 and 2001. Otorohanga District had the greatest increase in its home ownership rate, up by 5.7 percentage points to 69.9 percent, and Waitakere City had the largest decrease, down by 11.8 percentage points to 69.3 percent. See figure 3 below for a list of the territorial authorities with the highest home ownership rates in 1991, 1996 and 2001.

Figure 3

Table, Ten Territorial Authorities With the Highest Ownership Rates.

Source: Statistics New Zealand, Census of Population and Dwellings, 1991, 1996 and 2001

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Important Information

Tenure of Household

Tenure of household refers to the nature of occupancy of a private household in a dwelling at the time of the survey. Tenure of household seeks to ascertain if the household rents or owns the dwelling and whether payment is made by the household for the right. It does not refer to the land on which the dwelling is situated. This variable has undergone a change since the 1996 Census. Tenure is now an attribute of the household rather than of the dwelling. Previously in 1991 and 1996 tenure figures were for dwellings. These have been adjusted to calculate time series data, and are now for households only.

Tenure of household categories used in this analysis:

Owned

  • Dwelling owned or partly owned by usual resident(s), who make mortgage payments
  • Dwelling owned or partly owned by usual resident(s), who do not make mortgage payments
  • Dwelling owned or partly owned by usual resident(s), mortgage arrangements not further defined

Not owned (renting households)

  • Dwelling not owned by usual resident(s), who make rent payments
  • Dwelling not owned by usual resident(s), who do not make rent payments
  • Dwelling not owned by usual resident(s), rental arrangements not further defined

Calculations

Percentages have been calculated using stated answers only.

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