The Spinoff/SSI survey reveals the extraordinary impact of housing crisis on residents of New Zealand’s biggest city – and the extent to which Aucklanders blame foreign speculation.
There is a housing crisis in Auckland, and it has already bitten hard across the city, according to the latest results from polling conducted by SSI for the Spinoff in association with Jennings Murphy.
One in three of those surveyed – or 32.2% if you insist on being absolutely precise – answered yes to the question, “Have you in the last two years considered moving away from Auckland because of house prices?” A further 36.3% selected the option, “No, but it’s a good idea”, and the remaining 31.5% said it’s not something they’d considered.
The median house price in Auckland has jumped by 85% over the last four years, with the average home now costing roughly 10 times the average household income. The corresponding figure before 1990 was around four times median income.
But is it a crisis?
On the vexed question of whether “housing crisis” is an appropriate label – senior ministers prefer “housing challenge” – the view from Auckland is overwhelming. Eighty-four per cent of those polled said they believe there is a housing crisis in Auckland, with 10.3% saying they do not think there’s a housing crisis and 5.7% responding “don’t know”.
When asked for their “top priority for the new Auckland Council”, meanwhile, housing was selected by more than half, or 50.7%, of respondents.
Who’s to blame?
When those who believe Auckland faces a housing crisis were asked to identify reasons, “foreign investors” was selected by 55.7% of respondents (respondents were allowed to select more than one answer). “Government inaction” was selected by 39.6%, “developers and speculators” by 38.5%, “incompetent Auckland Council” by 28.8%, “selfish NIMBY baby boomers” by 9.1%, “over-cautious Reserve Bank” by 7.8%, “ungrateful spendthrift Millennials” by 3.9% and “too much immigration” by 3.3%.
The results will give succour to opposition politicians who have pledged to crack down on foreign purchases of New Zealand properties. In spite of some of the recent political rhetoric, however, the number of people who regarded high immigration as a cause, at 3.3%, is relatively low.
As revealed yesterday, the Unitary Plan, which paves the way for a massive expansion in Auckland housing development, is supported by a vast majority, with 19% of those polled saying they think it is a “great idea”, another 55.8% saying they broadly agree with the plan but with “some reservations” and just 12.4% saying they didn’t broadly agree with the thing. Discounting those who answered “don’t know” (12.8%), 85% of respondents said they broadly agree with the plan.
Survey Sampling International (SSI) conducted an online survey among a representative sample of 760 Auckland residents aged 18 and over with quota applied to gender, age and region within Auckland. All respondents were screened to ensure they were New Zealand residents and eligible to vote. The polling period was 17-19 August and the margin of error is +/- 3.6%.
SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 100+ countries offering the widest, most diverse access to audiences around the globe through its own panels, social media, online communities and affiliate partners. SSI has 40 offices in 20 countries and serves more than 3,000 clients worldwide.
The War for Auckland is a Spinoff pop-up section devoted to the 2016 Unitary Plan and local elections. To support our journalism, click here.