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Changing patterns of rental housing

As well as an ongoing decline in the proportion of people Māori and Pacific people living in owner-occupied dwellings, the types of dwellings that people live in, but do not own, have changed. Increasing exposure to the private rental market and a lower percentage of rent-free dwellings is likely to have increased costs for people and households.

More people lived in rent-free dwellings in 1970s/80s

In the 1970s and 1980s, fewer dwellings were rented and a higher proportion were occupied rent-free. In 1971, for example, 1 in 10 of all Māori dwellings were occupied rent-free. The proportion was much higher in rural areas – just over one-quarter of all Māori dwellings. Over time, the rent-free proportion has decreased, partly due to increased urbanisation but also as the proportion of dwellings available rent-free (eg through an employer) has fallen.

In 1986, around 11 percent of people in households, and 8 percent of people with Māori ethnicity who did not own their dwelling, lived in a dwelling that was rent-free. For Māori in rural areas, this was around one-third of all dwellings that were not owned. By the time of the 2013 Census, just over 5 percent of Māori people living in households that did not own their dwelling, lived in a rent-free dwelling. For the total population of people in households, the proportion of people who did not own and who lived rent-free, had fallen to just under 9 percent.

When we look at people who rent, their mix of landlords in New Zealand has changed over time. The 1986 Census recorded that just under 6 out of 10 people (58.3 percent) in renting households lived in a dwelling rented from a private person, business, or trust; and over one-quarter (28.3 percent) rented from Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC). Another 8.9 percent lived in dwellings rented from other government departments.

By 2013, more than 8 out of 10 people in renting households lived in a dwelling rented from a private person, business, or trust. Note: HNZC properties have had substantial undercounts in recent censuses, which affects our ability to look at change over time. The decline in people living in HNZC properties is likely to be overstated.

Figure 33
Image, Rented dwelling ownership for people in rented dwellings.

Since 1986, the proportion of Māori living in private rentals has increased more than for the total population (up 88.3 percent and 42.7 percent, respectively). The increase for Pacific people was 58.5 percent.

Figure 34
Image, Rented dwelling ownership for Maori in rented dwellings.

Figure 35
Image, Rented dwelling ownership for Pacific people in rented dwellings.
Housing New Zealand noted in their annual report (2014/15) that Māori and Pacific people made up over half of all people in HNZC properties.

See Annual Report 2013/14 from HNZC for more information.

At the 2013 Census, 41.5 percent of Pacific people and 20.7 percent of Māori people in households, where a landlord was specified, lived in an HNZC property.

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