Submenu ›

What the research is saying

Community housing providers, procurement and the building industry


This report looks at the procurement processes and relationship that community housing providers have with the building industry through in-depth interviews with 17 community housing providers who have built new residential dwellings either on green-fields or re-developed sites since 2014.
Read more ›

Community housing outcomes - from social renting to housing independence


This research was commissioned and funded by the New Zealand Housing Foundation with support from The Tindall Foundation. The FCSPRU (Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit), BERL (Business Economic Research Ltd) and NEXUS Research carried out these three independent research studies.

1. FCSPRU undertook a literature review which drew together more than 120 international studies that explored the associations between housing tenure and social, economic and health outcomes. In particular, the review highlighted the results of studies that measured the effects of housing tenure and security on health, employment, crime, welfare, wealth and education outcomes.

2. The second study involved BERL analysing the associations between housing tenure and fiscal costs for health, crime, welfare benefits and tax paid in New Zealand, using Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). Per capita costs for people residing in Auckland were estimated under the three tenure groups of social renting, renting, and owner occupancy. These per capita costs were based on statistics including hospitalisations, corrections, benefits, and PAYE.

3. The third study by NEXUS Research was an independent survey of residents in a new community about their experiences of moving from predominantly rental circumstances through a range of rental and ownership tenure options, towards independent home ownership.

This research shows that market-tested, affordable rental, rent-to-buy and shared equity schemes are an important part of the solution to New Zealand’s housing crisis. You can read more on this research by going here.

Housing affordability

The material wellbeing of NZ households: overview and key findings from The 2017 Household Incomes Report and the companion report using non-income measures (the 2017 NIMs Report) includes research on the ongoing housing costs and housing quality New Zealanders are experiencing.

Prepared by Bryan Perry for the Ministry of Social Development June 2017.

The report showed the poorest households were spending 51 percent of their incomes on housing, up from 29 percent in 1990.

It found child poverty rates were either flat or falling, depending on how it is measured.

About 155,000 children, or 14 percent, were living in poverty in 2015 and 2016, down from a peak of 200,000 hit during the Global Financial Crisis.

It also found the number of children living in severe material hardship has dropped from 100,000 in 2011 to 70,000.

However, the report found the 'working poor' remained an issue in New Zealand, with an estimated one third to one half of children in hardship coming from working families.

Overall, median household incomes have risen three percent, inflation adjusted in the 12 months to June.

Housing tenure

The proportion of all people in households living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell from 75.2 percent to 63.7 percent between 1986 and 2013, a decline of 15.3 percent.

Conversely, the proportion of the population living in dwellings that were not owned increased from around one-quarter to over one-third of the population (24.8 percent to 36.3 percent), a 46.4 percentage increase.

  • The proportion of children aged under 15 years living in dwellings that were not owned increased even more between 1986 and 2013, from 26.1 percent of children to 43.1 percent, a 65 percent increase. This occurred at a time when the proportion of children in the population fell from around one-quarter to just over one-fifth of the population.
  • For Pacific people and Māori, the proportion of their populations living in an owner occupied dwelling fell at a faster rate than for the total population (down 34.8 percent and 20.0 percent, respectively).
Statistics New Zealand (2016). Changes in home-ownership patterns 1986–2013: Focus on Māori and Pacific people. Available from

Housing trends

This Statistics NZ report from August 2017 looks at some current trends in housing including supply and demand.

Supply of housing can be influenced by many different factors including regulations, new building plans, the cost of building materials, the availability of skilled workers, and zoning rules. Demand for homes is also influenced by a multitude of factors including increasing population, the cost of borrowing, exchange rates, and house prices.

New Zealand’s rising population implies the need for more new homes, assuming an average of about 2.7 people per household. This is a broad guide only.

From an estimated population of 4.41 million in June 2012, the resident population of New Zealand rose to 4.79 million in June 2017.

Just as the population has grown, so has the number of new homes available. Comparing population growth (adjusted for people in non-private dwellings, and average people per private dwelling) with building consents (adjusted for unoccupied dwellings) gives a broad indicator of the balance between housing supply and demand.

In the year ended June 2017, there was potentially a shortfall of about 9,000 new homes consented compared to what was needed to meet increased demand from a larger population in the same period.

Figure 4

Stats NZ (2017). Trending topics – Housing. Retrieved from
ISBN 978-1-98-852827-4
Published 22 August 2017

Inclusionary zoning

Research finds that having an affordable home next door provides wider community benefits with no negative effects and is an important tool in the development of affordable housing Sense Partners April 2017.

Inclusionary zoning has been the key to success in providing affordable housing in Queenstown and is a tool that can be used in other local authorities to deliver social and affordable housing.

Neighbourhood social mix and outcomes for social housing tenants: rapid review

A Superu commissioned report prepared in November 2015 by CRESA looks at: What does the evidence show about the proportion of social housing in an area and outcomes for social housing tenants, and what factors mitigate possible negative outcomes?

Security of tenure leads to good outcomes for tenants

This research paper was prepared on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, by Geoffrey Payne and Alain Durand-Lasserve (2013).

Social housing helps New Zealanders to lead better lives

social housing investment report.JPG

The Social Investment Agency looked at a test case to calculate the impact on overall government spending when New Zealanders are provided with social housing. This is also known as a ‘fiscal return on investment' (ROI). While analysis showed it wasn’t possible to calculate a complete fiscal ROI (due to limitations of the data currently available), the test case showed that providing social housing helps New Zealanders to lead better lives.

It showed that when living in a social house:

  • People are in jail for less time (that’s a 25%* reduction – or $13m – in Corrections' spend)
  • Children are in school for longer (that’s a 6%* increase – or $16m – in Education spend)
  • Families access better support (that’s a 4%* increase – or $31m – in welfare spend).

Full report here.

Taking stock: the demand for social housing in New Zealand

How much social housing do we need in New Zealand? Alan Johnson from the Salvation Army Social Policy Unit provides an analysis on this (August 2017).

In its report 'Taking Stock', The Salvation Army estimates New Zealand needs to build a minimum of 2000 social houses a year for at least the next decade just to meet demand.

'Taking Stock', found the country's social housing stock needs to grow from 82,000 to more than 100,000 in the next decade. The report can be read here.

Taking stock of the community housing sector

Details Matter: Taking Stock of the Community Housing Sector in Aotearoa is a report offered to advance discussions on options to grow the portion of social and affordable housing delivered by Community Housing Organisations and shows what the sector were providing in 2015.

Current numbers of stock are available in reports from the Community Housing Data Supply Project.

Research shows private rentals lacking

Children living in private rental housing are less likely to be protected by safety measures like smoke alarms, property fences and safe power outlets, Auckland University researchers have found. From data in the University's Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study, the researchers looked for nine safety features in homes when the children were two years old.

Berry S, Atatoa Carr P, Kool B, Mohal J, Morton S, Grant C. (2017) Housing tenure as a focus for reducing inequalities in the home safety environment: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health online doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12695

Severe housing deprivation in Aotearoa/New Zealand 2001-2013

housing deprivation Kate Amore.JPGSevere housing deprivation in Aotearoa/New Zealand 2001-2013

More than half of all homeless adults in New Zealand are working or studying, say University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) researchers. UOW researcher Dr Kate Amore, from the Health Research Council-funded He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme, analysed the ‘severely housing deprived’ population, using census and administrative data.
Find the research here

BRANZ 2015 House condition survey.JPGThe condition of New Zealand Housing

2015 BRANZ House Condition Survey

This analysis focuses on comparing house condition between the two tenures, owner-occupied and rented. The BRANZ House Condition Survey report has found about half of all houses lacked adequate insulation (47 per cent), contributing to many being damp and mouldy (49 per cent).

Effects of minor household interventions to block draughts on social housing temperatures: a before and after study

Lara Rangiwhetu, Nevil Pierse & Philippa Howden-Chapman

Half of New Zealand’s renters report damp or mould problems with their homes, which can have negative health implications. Tenants in a newly upgraded social housing complex complained of being cold. Sealing strips around doors and baffles in rangehoods were installed.

This exploratory study’s objectives were to determine:

(1) whether the interventions influenced indoor temperature

(2) the extent to which indoor temperature changed and

(3) benefits to the tenants.

The before-and-after rapid response study was conducted in five social housing units. Indoor temperature was subjectively and objectively measured. Using multivariate normal linear regression, units were found to be on average 1.36°C warmer post-intervention after adjusting for outdoor temperature. Tenants’ daily diary entries also claimed units were warmer post-intervention. Simple minor interventions to block draughts made a relatively big difference to indoor temperature and comfort of those living there. Such interventions are worthwhile, especially when housing is tenanted by vulnerable populations.

Read the full research report here.

Data sources

Using data to understand housing supply and demand at a local level

An online dashboard to enable councils to undertake data-based planning and better response to growth pressures.

The Dashboard and accompanying guide are provided to help 'high growth' and 'medium growth' local authorities to give effect to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC), particularly Policy PB6. It includes data on:

  1. Prices and rents for housing, residential land and business land by location and type; and changes in these prices and rents over time
  2. The number of resource consents and building consents granted for urban development relative to the growth in population; and
  3. Indicators of housing affordability
To view the Dashboard visit:

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) rental bond data is available here

MSD housing quarterly report

The latest Housing Quarterly Report September 2017, which includes the latest figures for the Social Housing Register and an overview of MSD’s housing support has been published.

Read the report here:


It covers current spending by MSD on housing support; social housing supply, transitional housing places; spending on the emergency housing special needs grant, demand indicated through the social housing register and the make up of people on the register. It also indicates changes in these figures over time.

Previous reports can be found in the resources section of this website.

You can find information about the social housing register from 2015 here.

Solutions for increasing housing stock (December 2017)

Have we the potential to use our existing stock of homes to create a bigger stock of affordable, fit for purpose homes?

Partitioning existing houses would deliver up to 180,000 new dwellings according to research by the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment. The director of the centre, Dr Kay Saville-Smith, said 12 per cent of New Zealand's housing stock was under-used and she estimated 45,000 homes in Auckland could be partitioned.