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Dwelling and Household Estimates: December 2014 quarter – tables
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  09 January 2015
Data quality

Information about:

Changes and revisions

This release presents revised household estimates based on estimated households 2013-base (at 30 June 2013) and tenure proportions from the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings. The revised household estimates reconcile estimates between June 2006 and June 2013.

If the timing of the revised estimates creates an issue for you, email us ( so we can discuss options.

Estimated private dwellings

An estimate of all private dwellings in New Zealand at a given date.

This is a measure of the private dwelling stock in New Zealand and includes occupied and unoccupied dwellings. A private dwelling accommodates a person or a group of people, but is not available to the public. A private dwelling may be permanent or temporary. Permanent private dwellings include houses and flats; residences attached to a business or institution; and baches, cribs, and huts. Caravans, cabins, tents, and other makeshift dwellings that are the principal or usual residence of households are classified as temporary private dwellings.

This estimate includes permanent and temporary private occupied dwellings as well as unoccupied dwellings. The estimate excludes non-private dwellings and dwellings under construction. This estimate makes no adjustment for private dwellings missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount).

As there is no census information on whether unoccupied dwellings are private or non-private, these estimates assume that all unoccupied dwellings are private. The estimated private dwellings at a given date after a census also includes an adjustment for new dwellings, less an adjustment for dwellings that are demolished or destroyed.

Estimated private dwellings are available quarterly at the national level 'as at' each reference date (31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December) from 31 March 1991. Estimated private dwellings are also available quarterly for 'mean quarter ended' and 'mean year ended'.

Estimated households

An estimate of all households usually living in New Zealand at a given date.

A household consists of one person usually residing alone, or two or more people usually residing together in a private dwelling, therefore visitors are excluded. Households whose members are all away temporarily elsewhere in New Zealand and/or temporarily overseas are included.

We derive the estimated households of New Zealand at a given date after a census by updating the census household count for:

  1. estimated net census undercount
  2. the estimated number of households temporarily elsewhere in New Zealand or temporarily overseas on census night
  3. change in the number of households between census night and the date of the estimate.

Estimated households are available quarterly at the national level 'as at' each reference date (31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December) from 30 June 1991. Estimated households are also available quarterly for 'mean quarter ended' and 'mean year ended'.


Tenure of household refers to the nature of the occupancy of a private household in a dwelling. Tenure of household seeks to ascertain if the household rents or owns the dwelling and whether payment is made by the household for that right. It does not refer to the tenure of the land on which the dwelling is situated.

Private dwelling and household estimates by tenure are available quarterly from 1991. There are three tenure types available for each estimate:

  1. owner-occupied
  2. rented
  3. provided free. 

From 2006, owner-occupied includes dwellings held in family trusts.

We derived the tenure estimates by applying tenure proportions to the private dwelling and household estimates. The tenure proportions are based on census information on tenure of households in private occupied dwellings (excluding visitor-only dwellings). The tenure proportions for each quarter were calculated by linearly interpolating between the census tenure proportions.

After 5 March 2013, the owner-occupied proportion applied to the estimates is reduced each quarter, while the proportion rented is increased. This increase/decrease is the average quarterly change in the proportion owner-occupied from 1991 to 2013. Provided free proportion is held constant at the 2013 Census tenure proportion.

In the 2001 Census, a family trust was officially treated as 'not owned' and the help notes instructed respondents to mark 'no' to the ownership questions. However, respondents may have indicated 'owned' if they did not read the help notes, or still thought of themselves as owning the dwelling.

In the 2006 Census, the first tenure question was 'Do you, or anyone else who lives here, hold this dwelling in a family trust?'. The family trust question then routed the respondent to further relevant tenure questions. From 2006, the dwelling and household estimates combines owner-occupied and dwellings held in family trusts to form tenure rates.

Although a dwelling held in a family trust is owned by the family trust, for the purposes of calculating owner-occupied levels within New Zealand, it is usual to combine households that own their dwelling with those that hold it in a family trust, as a percentage of all households in private dwellings.

Private dwellings that are 'provided free' to households include dwellings owned by individuals, private trusts, businesses, and government. Some people may therefore be living in private dwellings which they own but are classified as 'provided free' because they are owned by a private trust and/or provided free to some or all household members.

Limitations of estimates

The accuracy of the estimates depends on the accuracy of both the estimated base and estimated quarterly change in numbers.

The accuracy of the base is dependent on the accuracy of the census and the estimated adjustments made to the base.

The estimated quarterly change in numbers is based on the building consents (lagged six months to allow for completion) multiplied by a weighting factor. The weighting factor is a net adjustment factor to allow for building consents not fulfilled, new dwellings not registered, and other changes in the nature of the dwelling. There is no information on how this weighting factor may vary between quarters, so it is kept constant during each intercensal period. The latest estimates use the weighting factor derived for the latest available intercensal period.

The accuracy of the estimates by tenure depends on the accuracy of both the estimates and estimated tenure proportions applied to those estimates. Tenure is influenced by a number of factors: lifestyle, investment, economy, interest rates, patterns of family and household formation, job security, stage in life cycle, cohort effects and population ageing, income and wealth distribution, social security, and income support. Given the uncertainty of how these various factors inter-relate and in future trends in tenure, the latest estimates use the average quarterly change in the proportion owner-occupied from 1991 to 2013 as a guide to quarterly change.

Household estimates are not directly comparable with census counts. Census counts give a snapshot of the population at that time but make no allowance for net census undercount or households temporarily elsewhere in New Zealand or temporarily overseas.

More information

See more information about the dwelling and household estimates 

Tenure of household – 2006 Census 

Tenure of household – 2013 Census 

Statistics in this release have been produced in accordance with the Official Statistics System principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics and conform to the Statistics NZ Methodological Standard for Reporting of Data Quality.


While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.


Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delay.

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