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Need For Diversity Of Housing Highlighted

“The Need For Diversity Of Housing Highlighted In ARC Report”

Auckland’s population structure is to become more diverse in the future, as well as more complex, translating into a wide variety of housing needs. From a housing supply viewpoint, diversity will be key.

An Auckland Regional Council (ARC) report released this week states that “Consequent to the diversity of population, there is no longer a mass housing market or even sub-markets. Instead, housing demand is fragmented according to complex matrices that reflect different household characteristics including age, ethnicity, family type, work status, life stage, household size, income, relative location, and general housing preferences.”

Each of these components influences demand for the size, location, number of bedrooms, private open space, design, and construction of a dwelling.

Made up of data from two five-year periods (1986-1991 and 1991-1996) as well as population projections to 2021, the study aims to provide a picture of how the nature of population structure influences housing preferences.
It points out several significant trends:

- There has been a trend towards larger households. Explanations of this trend include: An increase in flatting adults; adult children living with their parents longer; ‘empty nesters’ not downsizing property (the majority of empty nesters still live in three bedroom dwellings).

- There has been a trend towards dwellings with at least one or two bedrooms more than there are household members (Thus smaller households do not necessarily equate to a desire for smaller dwellings)

- The majority of young couples are in three bedroom dwellings.

- Older singles living on their own are equally likely to be in two and three bedroom dwellings.

- Household sizes have not decreased over the last 10 years. Nevertheless, population projections into the future assume that they will decrease, albeit at a slower rate than in other regions.

- One and two member households are relatively less common now than they were a decade ago.

- Nevertheless, one and two bedroom dwellings have not increased at the same rate as one and two member households.


Population projections lend support to the following conclusions:

- approximately 201,000 new dwellings will be required up until 2021 (using 1996 figures as a base).

- Of the 201,000 new dwellings required, the greatest numbers of new households will need to be located in each of the Central and Southern Sectors.

- Improved health will impact on the housing needs of the ageing population in the future- this may encourage them to stay in their family homes longer than they otherwise would or did in the past.

ARC Strategic Policy Committee Chairperson Gwen Bull supports the research as vital to understanding the future of housing in Auckland. “Matching the supply of housing with demand is an important and complex component in the implementation of the region’s Growth Strategy. This data provides guidance as to the future demand – in terms of numbers, type and location of housing – and will help ensure appropriate housing policies.”

“However, to draw solid conclusions of future situations, this study would have to be followed up with qualitative research – to investigate in greater detail the possible explanations behind the observed trends.” She adds that there would need to be research into the relationship between housing cost and housing size or type (i.e. is it dependent on affordability issues; age? What other issues influence preferences?).

Cr. Bull concludes “It is important to understand the changes in housing preferences and how changes in population structure affect these preferences.”

- END -

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