Te Waihanga Research Insights: March 2022

Why have house prices in New Zealand increased so much over the last few decades? What did the country do to construct this crisis? How can we fix this?

About the report

Te Waihanga economist Peter Nunns explores how housing markets have been shaped by infrastructure and urban planning policies, and presents some options for making housing more available and affordable.

Over the last 20 years, New Zealand has experienced faster growth in real house prices than any other OECD country. In the space of a generation, housing has gone from being abundant and reasonably affordable, to being scarce and prohibitively expensive.

This Research Insights report analyses how prices and supply have changed over 90 years from the 1930s to the 2010s, to understand whether more rapid price increases in recent decades are due to faster growth in housing demand, or slow housing supply responses. This report’s findings also provide further evidence for several recommendations in the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy.

Read the Draft New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy(external link)

However, while a difficult situation to change, unaffordable housing is not inevitable or inescapable. This report highlights how it is possible to overcome these challenges, with some significant changes to our approach to planning and infrastructure provision.