Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough Housing: Regional Context and Characteristics

Produced for the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand, Department of Building and Housing, and Housing New Zealand Corporation, Wellington

This paper, the first in a series of papers within the research programme Affordable Housing in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough Regions: A Solutions Study, describes key characteristics of the housing sector and economies of Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough (NTM).

We cover housing developments - and economic, labour market and demographic data affecting housing - from the early 1980s onwards. Data are presented for the NTM regions and for New Zealand, as a comparator. Comparisons are also made with other housing 'hotspots'.

We begin by presenting data on house price and rental developments, and on housing affordability. House prices rose by 70% between 2002 and 2004 in each of Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough, raising the question of what lies behind the dramatic price behaviour. Rents also rose sharply.

We examine developments across a range of demographic and economic factors that may influence the demand for owner-occupied and rental housing.We also analyse trends in household tenure and ownership; and we examine housing supply responses to the demand pressures within the regions.

The final section of the paper synthesises the foregoing material and looks forward. The forward-looking component includes projections for the regions, based on reasonable estimates of future demographic and industrial developments both in NTM and across the country more widely. We draw out the implications for NTM housing market developments both of the historical and the forward-looking data. In particular, we examine implications for housing affordability for different groups and different areas.