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Rents are up, mortgages are down, but overall housing costs are unchanged – Media release

18 February 2020

New Zealand households, on average, paid no more for housing costs in 2019 than they did in 2018, Stats NZ said today.

“While rents increased, and mortgage interest payments and property rates decreased, overall housing costs remained unchanged,” income and poverty statistics manager Chris Pooch said.

In the year ended June 2019, households spent on average $17,227 on housing costs. This is relatively unchanged from 2018 (up 0.6 percent). Changes were seen in property and ground rents (up by 10.5 percent from $110.80 to $122.50) and mortgage interest payments (down 9.6 percent from $88.50 to $80.00).

The consumers price index for the June 2019 quarter also showed rent increases over the 2019 year (up by 2.5 percent).

In the June 2019 year, nearly a third of households spent 30 percent or more of their total household income on housing costs.

Renters were approximately twice as likely than homeowners to spend 40 percent or more of their household income on housing costs.

Just over 1 in 4 (27.9 percent) renting households spent 40 percent or more of their household income on rent and other housing costs in the June 2019 year. In contrast, about 1 in 8 (12.6 percent) people who owned, or partly owned, their own home spent 40 percent or more of their household income on housing costs.

New income measures for the household economic survey

Changes in survey methodology have allowed Stats NZ to produce new income measures for disposable income and equivalised disposable income. Results from these new measures show that for the year ended June 2019, the annual average household disposable income for New Zealand households was $81,934. The annual average household equivalised disposable income was $45,744.

These income measures are key components in the child poverty statistics, as well as in income distribution analysis:

  • disposable income measures the economic resources (income) individuals and households have available that can be used to improve their economic situation
  • household equivalised disposable income allows for a similar income comparison across households of different sizes and compositions, such as smaller or larger family groups or people of different ages.

Household income and housing-cost statistics: Year ended June 2019, released today, are the first estimates from the expanded HES.  The release focuses on household incomes and housing costs for the year ended June 2019.

Stats NZ’s household economic survey (HES) collects information on household income, savings, and expenditure, as well as demographic information on individuals and households.

In 2019 HES was expanded to more than 20,000 households to better collect information on households and individuals, and to allow for production of better-quality statistics about child poverty.

Changes to the household economic survey 2018/19 has more detail on these changes.

Stats NZ will publish more data from HES on 25 February 2020 (child poverty statistics) and 3 March 2020 (household expenditure statistics).