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Fall in homeownership shows need for new policies

18 March 2014

Fall in homeownership shows need for new policies

Newly released census data shows that more and more Kiwi families are being locked out of the housing market and facing rapidly rising rents, at the same time as rising electricity prices making heating homes more costly, Green Party housing spokesperson Holly Walker said today.

Data released today from Census 2013 shows that the homeownership rate has fallen to its lowest level in decades. 43% of people aged 30–39 years owned or partly owned their home, down from 54.6 percent in 2001. The number of private rentals has surged by 19% since the last census while the median rent has risen by 40%.

The census also shows that 79% of families use electricity for household heating, up from 74% in 2006, which means rapidly rising power prices will put more strain on families’ ability to keep their homes warm and healthy.

“These new figures show that National has failed to make owning a home affordable for Kiwi families,” said Ms Walker.

“Under National, house prices have risen by 50% in Auckland, far outstripping incomes. With poorly implemented Loan to Value Ratios making it even harder for a young family to buy a house, no wonder homeownership is plummeting.

“The huge fall in the percentage of people in their 30s who own their home is a real concern. Traditionally, people would be buying a house and settling down to start a family in their 30s, but that has become an unaffordable dream for many. More and more families are locked out of homeownership and are facing rapid increases in rents.

“The Greens have smart policy solutions to make housing affordable and boost home ownership. We’ll help first home buyers with a low-interest package for buying their first home under our Progressive Ownership policy. We’ll put a stop to speculators bidding up house prices with restrictions on overseas investment and a capital gains tax (excluding the family home). Under the Green plan, the government will take the lead in building affordable houses for families to buy and rent.

“With four out of five homes now relying on electricity for their heating, the big power price rises that we’re seeing under National will really bite this winter. The Greens’ policies of NZ Power, Progressive Pricing, and Solar Homes will help families take control and reduce their power bills, so they can keep their homes warm and healthy,” said Ms Walker.

ENDS

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