SAYit Blog
Is there a housing crisis? Part 2

In Part 2 of this series, I'll cover two questions - 'how important is it for people to own their own homes?', and 'how likely is it that the next generation of New Zealanders will be able to own their own home."  You could simplify those down - what do people want for housing, and what do they think will actually happen?

The results are from the same poll as Part 1 - a UMR SAYit poll of n=1000 New Zealanders, conducted between 29th October and 18th November 2014.  Part 1 can be found here.

So to the first question in Part 2, 'how important do you think it is for people to be able to own their own homes?'  The results were:

  • 48% very important
  • 41% somewhat important
  • 10% not that important
  • 1% not important at all.

Combining 'very important' and 'somewhat important' gives us 89% who think that home ownership is important, including:

  • 94% of under 30 year olds and 88% of over 60 year olds
  • 88% of Aucklanders, 89% of Cantabrians, 89% of Wellingtonians and 89% of those who live in rural areas.
  • 92% of those with household incomes below $30,000 and 86% of those with household incomes over $100,000.

The reason for outlining those demographics is to illustrate the point that there's little demographic variation - New Zealanders still believe home ownership is important, regardless of their demographic.

Looking at the numbers for housing tenure:

  • 99% of those who are renting looking to buy say home ownership is important, as do 88% of those who are renting and not looking to buy.
  • 88% of those who own their homes freehold think it is important, as do 89% of those who own their home with a mortgage.

While there's a bit of a difference in terms of the vote, even a clear majority of National voters think that home ownership is important.

  • 84% of National voters believe home ownership is important, compared with 93% of Labour voters and 94% of Green voters.

The second question was: "How likely is it that the next generation of New Zealanders will be able to own their own home."

  • 4% said that this was very likely
  • 33% somewhat likely
  • 42% somewhat unlikely
  • 20% very unlikely.

So that's a total of 37% who think that it is likely that the 'next generation' will be able to own their own home, while 62% think it is unlikely.

We might expect to see differences by age on this question, and so it proves.

  • 28% of under 30s think that it is likely that the 'next generation' (which presumably includes them) will be able to afford a home, while 72% think it is unlikely.
  • 46% of over 60s think it is likely, while 53% feel it is unlikely.

The difference by region are small, but there are big differences by income.

  • Household income $30,000 or less: 28% likely, 70% unlikely
  • Household income $100,000 or more: 44% likely, 47% unlikely.

Only 17% of those who are currently renting and not looking to buy think that the 'next generation' will be able to afford to own their own homes.  This compares with 48% of those who own their home freehold and 43% of those who own their home with a mortgage.

The contrast by vote is stark:

  • 58% of National voters think that the next generation will be able to own their own homes, compared with only 16% of Labour voters and 26% of Green voters.

Let's put the two questions together.  89% of New Zealanders think that home ownership is important, but only 37% believe that the next generation will be able to do it.

  • Of those who think home ownership is important, 35% believe that the next generation will be able to buy a home, while 64% think that they will not be able to.
  • Of those who don't think it is important, 52% believe that they will be able to buy a home, and 45% that they will not.

From this, it's clear that people haven't given up on the so-called 'kiwi dream' of home ownership, but they do feel that it is slipping away.

Part 3 will follow in a few days.