Southland ranks third for home ownership

The Kiwi home ownership dream is slipping further from reality, though those living in the provinces have a better shot than most, new statistics show.

The latest round of census data released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand ranks Southland as having the third highest level of home ownership in New Zealand, with roughly 70 per cent of households owning their own home or having it in a family trust.

Southland was flanked by the Tasman region at No 1, Marlborough second and the Nelson region fourth.

Otago had the seventh highest homeownership rate.

However, home ownership was declining across the board with all regions experiencing a drop in ownership since 2006. Nationally, home ownership has slipped to its lowest levels in decades.

Forty-three per cent of people aged 30-39 years owned or partly owned their home, down from 54.6 per cent in 2001, while overall 49.9 per cent of people aged 15 and over were homeowners in New Zealand, down from 54.5 per cent in 2006, excluding those whose homes were in a family trust.

In Southland, home ownership was down nearly 4 per cent.

Despite the downward trend, Southland homeowners were more likely than their national counterparts to keep their homes occupied.

Nationally, the number of unoccupied dwellings rose 16.4 per cent between 2006 and 2013 and it was estimated 1 in 10 dwellings were unoccupied, though a quarter of that was attributed to people being away from home on census night.

However, Southland had the second lowest increase of unoccupied dwellings in the country, beaten only by Auckland whose change was too negligible to table.

For heating, Southland kept with the national trend of favouring electricity over other heating methods, though the 35.5 per cent who use coal are well above the 4.1 per cent national usage figure.

2013 Census general manager Gareth Meech said electricity was the most commonly used method of heating in 2013.

"In 2013, electricity was used for heating in 79.2 per cent of occupied private dwellings, up from 74.8 per cent in 2006, and 72.0 per cent in 2001," he said.


The Southland Times