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Home ownership, 1916–2013

Home ownership in 2013 was at its lowest rate since the 1950s.

Graph, percent of households owning their home, 1916–2013 Censuses.

The Census of Population and Dwellings first collected information on home ownership and renting in 1916, during World War I.

Home ownership rose during the 1920s but fell after the Great Depression. It rose fairly steadily during the 1950s, and peaked in 1986 and 1991, at 73.5 percent (as a percentage of private dwellings). If we just consider households, then the peak was 73.8 percent of households owning their dwelling in 1991.

By 2013, home ownership had fallen to 64.8 percent of households – the lowest rate since 1951 (when 61.5 percent of private dwellings were owned).

The questions around home ownership, and categories for collection, have changed slightly over the years. For example, from 1926 to 1971 we asked about the type of mortgage (flat or table mortgage or under-time payment).

Defining home ownership became more complicated after family trusts became more popular in New Zealand. Data from 2006 onwards includes information about whether a dwelling is held in a family trust. For the purposes of this time series, households where the dwelling is held in a family trust have been included under the ownership category.

From 2001, census also included a question about individual home ownership (tenure holder).

 

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