Under review: NZ housing
Monday 27 November 2017
Three housing experts have been commissioned to carry out an independent review of the state of housing in New Zealand.
By Miriam Bell
Economist Shamubeel Eaqub, Otago University Professor of Public Health Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Salvation Army senior policy analyst Alan Johnson have been tasked with producing a report by Christmas.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says that the previous government refused to accept the housing crisis and establish the scale of the problem.
He says it has only just emerged that MBIE’s official figures show a nationwide shortfall of 71,000 houses and that projections show house building would fall if not for KiwiBuild.
The new report will provide an authoritative picture of the state of housing in New Zealand today, drawing on the best data available, he says.
“It will put firm figures on homelessness, the state of the rental market, the decline of homeownership, and other factors in the housing crisis.
“The Labour-led government is already pushing ahead with initiatives to make housing more affordable and healthy, including banning overseas speculators, passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, cancelling the state house selloff, and setting up KiwiBuild.”
However, some say the report is a waste of time.
National’s Housing spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says the report is nothing but “smoke and mirrors”.
Government officials have already developed a comprehensive plan on housing issues ranging from increasing supply to growing the social housing sector, he says.
“The housing market is flat to falling and we are in the middle of a record residential building boom. The solutions were implemented by the previous government based on official advice and they are working.”
The new government should leave the building industry and social housing sector alone to on with the job, he says.
But Labour, NZ First, and the Green Party have all committed to tackling New Zealand’s housing market issues head-on.
To this end, Twyford has already committed to getting the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed by Christmas.
Additionally, Finance Minister Grant Robinson has confirmed negative gearing will be abolished and the bright line test will be extended to five years.
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New Zealand’s housing market might be cooling but it’s in sync with global trends – unlike the Australian market’s dramatic decline, according to a major bank.
Investors interested in a property that’s a bit different, but provides good returns, should check out one of the niche sectors on offer in the commercial sphere.
The latest Reserve Bank figures show investors borrowed just $886 million in February, down on the same month in 2017 and 2018, as first home buyers narrow the gap.