Experimental Housing Affordability Measure for renters

The Housing Affordability Measure for Renters (HAM Rent Median) compares the equivalised* income after housing costs of renters in different parts of New Zealand to the estimated national median equivalised income after housing costs for all households.

Image showing: total household income minus rent equals income after housing costs compared to income after housing costs for all households in New Zealand.

Image showing: total household income minus rent equals income after housing costs compared to income after housing costs for all households in New Zealand.

The HAM Rent Median identifies the proportion of renters in a particular area (region and territorial authority) whose income after rent is above or below the estimated national median equivalised income after housing costs (rent, mortgage payments, body corporate fees, rates and insurance) for all households (including renters and homeowners).

The HAM Rent Median does not set a level at which housing is or is not affordable. Determining affordability depends on each household’s circumstances and expectations of what qualifies as a socially accepted standard of living. This is a challenge common to all efforts at measuring material hardship**. The HAM Rent Median helps us to understand the affordability picture for renters in local areas around New Zealand (territorial authorities and Auckland wards) and how this compares to the overall New Zealand affordability picture.

National Housing Affordability Measure for renters

Nationally, the share of renter households with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 59.4 percent in December 2017 to 56.9 percent in December 2018.

For renters at the regional level:

  • Auckland and Wellington regions have the lowest percentages with below average incomes after rental housing costs.
  • Gisborne, Northland and Manawatū-Whanganui have the highest percentages, 70.7 percent, 70.1 percent and 69.3 percent respectively.

 

Figure 1: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average income after housing costs, national-level (March 2003 to December 2018)

Figure 1: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average income after housing costs, national-level (March 2003 to December 2018)

Auckland Housing Affordability Measure for renters

The share of renter households in Auckland with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 53.1 percent in December 2017 to 50.5 percent in December 2018, continuing a downward trend from 64.4 percent in December 2010.

Figure 2: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Auckland (March 2003 to December 2018)

Figure 2: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Auckland (March 2003 to December 2018)

Christchurch City Housing Affordability Measure for renters

The share of renter households in Christchurch City with below average incomes after housing costs decreased slightly from 57.5 percent to 57.0 percent between December 2017 and December 2018.

Figure 3: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Christchurch City (March 2003 to December 2018)

Figure 3: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Christchurch City (March 2003 to December 2018)

Wellington City Housing Affordability Measure for renters

The share of renter households in Wellington City with below average incomes after housing costs decreased from 43.7 percent in December 2017 to 41.3 percent in December 2018, continuing a downward trend from 49.0 percent in December 2012.

Figure 4: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Wellington City (March 2003 to December 2018)

Figure 4: Share of renter (HAM Rent Median) households with below average incomes after housing costs, Wellington City (March 2003 to December 2018)

Methodology notes and data tables

Our Housing Affordability Measure downloads and notes of interest page includes more information about how the data have been analysed, the methodology report and downloadable data tables.

*Equivalised means that this has been adjusted for the number of adults and children in the household.

** A discussion of the issues with measuring material hardship can be found in Appendix 6 of Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2015 by the Ministry of Social Development.

Published: September 12, 2019

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