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Home ownership for Māori and Pacific households after 1986

About our approach

From 1986 onwards we look at changing tenure patterns for Māori and Pacific people, rather than attempting to define a Māori or Pacific household. In census statistics, a household consists of one person usually residing alone, or two or more people usually residing together in a private dwelling; visitors are excluded.

However, a person may have more than one ethnicity and households may contain people with different mixes of ethnicity. Māori and Pacific people have high rates of multiple ethnicity, particularly children.

For example, in 2013 fewer than one-third of Māori children under five years (30.7 percent) and fewer than half of Pacific children under five years (41.0 percent) identified with only one ethnicity. Of particular relevance here, of the 292,041 children under five years, who were either Māori or Pacific in the 2013 Census, 1 in 8 (11.9 percent) were both Māori and Pacific. We use the ‘tenure in household’ variable, which has information about whether dwellings are owned with or without a mortgage, or in a family trust, or are not owned (rented, rent-free, or rental status not specified).

At first we examine home ownership, then people living in dwellings not owned by the household. Finally we look at individual home ownership (whether a person aged 15 or over owned the dwelling in which they lived). Rates for individual home ownership are lower, For example, a young person aged 15 years who lived in a dwelling owned by their parents should write 'Not owned' to the tenure holder question because they did not own that dwelling themselves.

Comparing home ownership over time leads to comparability issues. We have only collected data on family trust ownership since 2006. The 2001 Census had no family trust categories; the 2001 help notes instructed respondents to mark 'No' if the dwelling was in a family trust. Consequently, in the 2001 data, some households whose dwelling was in a family trust may be in the ‘owned’ categories and others may be in the ‘not-owned’ categories – depending on how respondents' interpreted ownership and whether they had read the help notes.

Also, because we use ‘total response ethnicity’, people may be counted more than once. Sometimes we compare Māori and Pacific people with total people in households, but at times we include comparisons with other ethnic groups.

The first question to explore was whether the decline in home ownership occurred at a similar rate for Māori and Pacific people when compared with the total population.

Greater decline for Māori and Pacific people in owned dwellings than for total population

Figure 8 shows the decline in the proportion of people living in an owner-occupied dwelling occurred at a faster rate for Māori and Pacific people than for the total population (all people living in households, including children). While the proportion of people living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell 15.3 percent between 1986 and 2013, the rates of decline were greater for Pacific people (down 34.8 percent) and Māori (down 20.0 percent).

Figure 8
Graph, Percentage living in owner-occupied dwelling.

We were also interested in whether home-ownership rates might have changed more for different combination of ethnicities. Therefore we also consider single combination groups to see any differences in the rates of decline for people of just one ethnicity and people who identified with more than one ethnic group.

Figure 9 shows that the greatest decline in the proportion living in a dwelling the household owned occurred for people identifying with both Māori and Pacific ethnic groups (down 40.8 percent), followed by Pacific only (down 37.8 percent) and Māori only (down 31.7 percent). In contrast, the percent of people with European ethnicity only living in a dwelling owned by the household fell less than 10 percent.

Figure 9

Graph, Percent in owner-occupied dwelling and percent change.

Falls in home ownership affect children

The proportion of children aged under 15 years living in dwellings that were not owned increased even more than for the total population between 1986 and 2013, from 26.1 percent of children to 43.1 percent (up 65 percent). 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.

It is likely that falling home-ownership rates had most effect on the youngest people in Māori and Pacific populations. In 1986, around half of Pacific and Māori children lived in an owner-occupied dwelling. By 2013, 38.5 percent of Māori children and 28.4 percent of Pacific children lived in a dwelling the household owned. Rates were even lower for the very young (children under 1 year) with just over one-quarter of Pacific babies and around one-third of Māori babies living in an owner-occupied dwelling.

Figure 10 shows the percentage of people living in an owner-occupied dwelling, by single year of age. Note: for all ethnic groups, young people between 20 and 30 years were the least likely to live in a dwelling owned by the household in which they lived.

Figure 10

Graph, Percentage living in owner-occupied dwelling, by age (single year).

Large fall in Māori living in an owner-occupied dwelling

The proportion of people with Māori ethnicity who lived in an owner-occupied dwelling increased slightly between 1986 and 1991. After 1991, this proportion fell. The greatest fall was in the1990s, when there was a prolonged recession and high rates of unemployment for Māori and Pacific people. Maré & Dixon (2004) note ”Māori economic activity levels were particularly severely affected by the recession and economic reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s”.

Figure 11

Graph, Tenure type for Maori living in households.

Urban/rural difference shows in changing home-ownership rates for Māori

When we look at the distribution of change in tenure type since 1986, it is clear that urban and rural areas followed different patterns. Between 1991 (the peak in home ownership) and 2013, the proportion of Māori living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell – down 27.6 percent in urban areas and a 9.9 percent decrease in rural areas. The percentage of rural Māori living in a dwelling owned by the household increased about 10 percent between 1986 and 1991, and remained largely unchanged till the 2000s. This contrasts with sharp falls in the proportion in urban areas in the same period. Interestingly, the proportion fell more sharply in smaller urban areas than in the main urban centres.

Between 2001 and 2013, the proportion of rural Māori living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell at a faster rate: by 11.8 percent, compared with a 7.1 percent drop in urban areas. This is despite a general ageing of the rural population relative to urban areas. In 1986, the median age of Māori in urban and rural areas was 19.2 years and 20.6 years, respectively; by 2001, it was 21.4 and 24.0 years; by 2013 it was almost a four-year gap (at 23.3 and 27.1 years, respectively).

Māori unemployment rates for 1986 to 2013 were consistently higher in smaller urban centres (those with populations between 1,000 and 29,999), particularly in the North Island.

Figure 12
Graph, Unemplyment rates for Maori.
Figure 13
Graph, Percentage change in proportion living in owner-occupied dwellings.

Looking at the largest urban areas gives a more nuanced picture. Contrary to expectation (that declining home-ownership rates for Māori were largely due to their exposure to the Auckland housing market), the proportion of Māori living in owner-occupied dwellings fell more in Whangarei, Rotorua, and Tauranga than in the Auckland urban area. However, between 1991 and 2013, home ownership did fall sharply in Southern Auckland (from 56.0 percent to 35.3 percent) and Western Auckland zones (from 66.7 percent to 43.8 percent).

Figure 14
Graph, Percentage living in an owner-occupied dwelling and percentage change.

Figures 15 and 16 show the percentage of North Island Māori living in an owner-occupied dwelling in 1986 and 2013.

Figure 15

Image, Percentage of Maori living in an owner-occupied dwelling in North Island, 1986 Census.

Figure 16

Image, Percentage of Maori living in an owner-occupied dwelling in North Island, 2013 Census.

Changes in territorial authority areas vary

Between 1986 and 2013 the percentage of Māori living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell in most territorial authority areas. The largest falls occurred in Tauranga city (down 38.6 percent), Carterton district (down 31.0 percent), Rotorua district (down 30.8 percent), and Hastings (down 30.0 percent). Ashburton, Far North district, and Hamilton all fell just over 28 percent.

In contrast, the proportion of Māori living in an owner-occupied dwelling increased in Wellington and Porirua cities and some South Island areas.

Caution is needed here as some boundaries have changed slightly since 1986. Also, in some territorial authorities, small numbers and higher rates of structural change in populations may skew the data. For example, Selwyn district had 867 people in households with Māori ethnicity in 1986 and 2,706 in 2013.

Figure 17

Image, Percentage change for Maori living in owner-occupied dwellings, 1986 and 2013 Census.

Pacific people have greatest home-ownership falls

Figure 18 shows the changing tenure patterns for Pacific people between 1986 and 2013. In ‘Home-ownership patterns at the individual level’ we’ll see how this may vary for people of different Pacific ethnicities, such as Samoans or Tongans.

Figure 18
Graph, Tenure type for Pacific people living in households.

The proportion of Pacific people living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell sharply in the 1990s and then continued to decline, although at a slower rate. Because a high proportion of Pacific people live in Auckland, rising house prices in Auckland have had an impact. However, Pacific people had lower home-ownership rates across New Zealand; in most areas they have fallen over time.

Pacific people tend to live in larger households

Pacific people are more likely to live in larger households than other ethnic groups. This is due mainly to having larger families, more multi-family households, and more intergenerational households (Statistics NZ, 2012). More than one-quarter of Pacific people (27.9 percent) lived in a household with seven or more people, compared with just 5.6 percent of the total population. The pressure of more people in a household can reduce affordability and the ability to purchase housing.

Urban/regional differences affect changing home-ownership rates for Pacific people

Most Pacific people live in the large metropolitan areas; many other areas have small populations of Pacific people. Therefore, to provide a geographic context, we look briefly at regional change before focusing on the metropolitan centres.

Figure 19 shows the falling home-ownership rates among Pacific people, by region. While rates fell in all areas, the greatest falls were in Hawke’s Bay (down 46.2 percent), Bay of Plenty (down 41.1 percent), and Marlborough (down 52.9 percent. While Marlborough had the largest fall, the small number of Pacific people in Marlborough (fewer than 1,000 people in 1986 and 2013) probably contributes to this region standing out. In Auckland, the region with the largest Pacific population, the proportion of Pacific people living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell 38.4 percent.

Figure 19
Image, Percentage change for Pacific people living in owner-occupied dwellings, 1986 and 2013 Censues.

Because most Pacific people live in large urban centres, we concentrate on Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Table 1 shows the percentage of Pacific people living in an owner-occupied dwelling fell in all large urban centres, but the greatest falls were in the Western and Southern Auckland zones. Central Auckland consistently had the lowest proportion of Pacific people living in an owner-occupied dwelling in 2013 – just 1 in 4 compared with approximately half of all people living in Central Auckland. In 2013, just under 50,000 Pacific people lived in a Central Auckland household.

Table 1
Percentage of Pacific people living in a owner-occupied dwelling

By largest urban areas
Selected census years 1986–2013

 Urban area

 1986 

 1996

 2006 

 2013 

 Percentage change 1986–2013

 Percent

 Northern Auckland zone

 63.1

 48.7

 40.7

 38.7

 -38.6

 Western Auckland zone

 72.7

 57.3

 43.5

 38.2

 -47.4

 Central Auckland zone

 37.8

 32.4

 28.0

 25.8

 -31.8

 Southern Auckland zone

 58.7

 48.1

 37.0

 32.5

 -44.7

 Total Auckland urban area

 51.9

 44.0

 35.6

 31.9

 -38.5

 Upper Hutt zone

 55.5

 54.2

 47.2

 44.3

 -19.9

 Lower Hutt zone

 46.1

 40.9

 40.0

 38.8

 -15.8

 Poirirua zone

 41.4

 39.1

 35.8

 33.9

 -18.1

 Wellington zone

 39.3

 37.2

 35.8

 35.3

 -10.3

 Total Wellington urban area

 42.4

 39.7

 37.6

 36.4

 -14.2

 Christchurch

 53.8

 43.1

 35.4

 33.0

 -38.7

 Total New Zealand

 50.8

 44.4

 36.7

 33.1

 -34.8

 Source: Statistics New Zealand

      
      
     
   
      
     


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