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Housing affordability an issue for one in three

Results of the biennial Quality of Life survey highlight that, while many residents in New Zealand’s big cities are positive about their quality of life and think their city or local area is a great place to live, some are struggling with the cost of housing and their everyday needs.

This year, 84 per cent of respondents across the eight participating cities rated their overall quality of life as positive and 30 per cent said it had improved over the previous 12 months. A similar proportion (80 per cent) agreed that their city (or in the case of Auckland, their local area) was a great place to live.

However, 25 per cent felt that their city or local area had become a worse place to live in the previous 12 months. These concerns mostly related to the issue of traffic congestion and worries about housing affordability and suitability.

The 2018 Quality of Life survey undertaken by Nielsen on behalf of the participating councils had a focus on housing, with the addition of questions related to housing quality and heating as well as homelessness and rough sleeping.

Just over a third (38 per cent) of respondents disagreed that their housing costs were affordable, particularly those in younger age groups, those renting from private landlords and those with children living at home.

The impacts of growing housing-related costs and a shortage of suitable housing in New Zealand cities are reflected in increasing numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets or in vehicles. Almost half (48 per cent) of respondents felt this had been a problem in their city or local area in the previous 12 months, and 53 per cent considered people begging on the street to have been a problem in their city or local area.

The survey also revealed that some residents are struggling to make ends meet, with 16 per cent of respondents stating they didn’t have enough money to meet their everyday needs, such as accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities. Aside from those struggling, 45 per cent stated they had more than enough or enough income to cover everyday needs.

Other key figures from the 2018 Quality of Life Survey

• While 71 per cent agreed that feeling a sense of community with those living in their local area was important, just 52 per cent said they actually do feel a sense of community

• If faced with a serious injury or illness, or needing emotional support during a difficult time, 94 per cent of those surveyed felt they had someone to turn to for help

• More than half (58 per cent) believed that New Zealand becoming home to an increasing number of people from different countries with different lifestyles and cultures made their city a better place to live, while one in five (20 per cent) felt it made no difference.

A full set of these topline results and more information on the 2018 Quality of Life survey is available online at qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz

More detailed reporting by participating councils will be released in the next few months.


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