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Christchurch – The proportion of people living in their own home is lower now than almost 70 years ago, a new report says.

Home ownership is becoming much less common for younger people, the Stats NZ report shows.

The2018 census data shows homeownership peaked in the 1990s at 74 percent and by 2018 had fallen to 65 percent of households, the lowest rate since 1951. Home ownership rates appear stabilised between 2013 and 2018.

Census not held in 1931 and 1941. The 2011 census was delayed to 2013 because of the Canterbury earthquakes.

House prices have risen faster than incomes in recent years, but first home buyers can take advantage of Kiwisaver deposits and low interest mortgage rates.

Home ownership rates have fallen for all age groups since the early 1990s, but especially for those in their 20s and 30s.

In 1991, 61 percent of people aged 25 to 29 years lived in an owner-occupied home. By 2018, this had dropped to 44 percent. For those in their late 30s, the rate dropped from 79 percent in 1991 to 59 percent in 2018.

Home ownership rates for younger people have seen significant falls since the 1990s; however, ownership rates for those aged 60 years and over have only fallen slightly.

With the decline in home ownership, a higher proportion of households are now renting. At the time of the 2018 census, 32 percent of households were living in rented homes.

Price indexes show that rents have risen in line with incomes nationally but have outstripped income growth in centres like Wellington and Auckland where markets are particularly competitive.

The survey showed that rented homes were more likely to be smaller, older, and in need of major repair, and less likely to have double glazing than owned homes.

However, there was no significant difference in insulation between owned and non-owned homes. Rented homes more frequently had problems with mould and damp than owned homes.

People living in rented homes were also more likely to report problems with cold, and less likely to have efficient heating sources such as heat pumps and wood burners.

Poor housing quality can affect people’s health. People living in houses that were damp, cold, and mouldy had more frequent colds and flu, and were more likely to suffer from asthma. They tended to have poorer mental wellbeing than those who lived in homes.