Hive Mind: Making housing affordable – let’s crack it.

Scoop.co.nz is hosting an interactive HiveMind exploration on the topic of housing affordability. This is an opportunity for you to think about and share your perspectives on this issue and what, if anything, needs to be done. HiveMind runs until 9th July on the Scoop website.

The Scoop ‘Polis’ method lets you have your say on what you think about the affordability issue by agreeing, disagreeing or passing on each statement presented to you in the Polis window. You can also suggest new statements that might help us to expand the debate and work towards potential solutions we can all agree on. You don’t need to vote on all the statements in one go; HiveMind will present statements you haven’t voted on when you return. Statements are presented one at a time in a random order.

Here is what Scoop says about housing to get the debate going…

A warm, dry, safe home is a fundamental human need. The trouble is a significant number of people in New Zealand are currently unable to access or afford these most basic needs .

In Auckland and other urban centres, house prices have increased rapidly for a long time at rates well above wage growth and overall inflation. This has pushed up rents and made private ownership all but impossible for many people.

Ten years ago, before the Global Financial Crisis, the median house price across all of New Zealand was $349,000. Today, the median is $540,000, an increase of 55%.

Internationally, houses are considered affordable if the house price-to-income multiple is 3 or less, as it is in Wanganui and Invercargill. However, even places like Whangarei and Dunedin now have multiples approaching 4 and then we have Auckland and Queenstown with multiples over 8.

Housing affordability affects low-income households most. Many of these households spend more than 40% of their income on housing. That doesn’t leave much for other necessities!

House price inflation isn’t bad for everyone. Consistent price increases and favourable tax breaks have encouraged many people to buy investment properties. The high demand for investment properties has put significant pressure on house prices and rents.