Wakeup call: housing affordability and material child poverty requirements clash

A glut of bigger Kiwi homes being built could put pressure on opportunities for simpler living.

New data from Statistics New Zealand shows that Kiwis are building fewer homes than 40 years ago, but their floorplans have expanded by 60 per cent.

And New Plymouth real estate agent Glenn Green said he’s not surprised. Demand on the market is for big houses, multiple living areas and three or more bedrooms, he said.

“Gone are the days of bunk beds and sharing a room with your siblings, a lot of parents want their kids to all have their own rooms,”

The average Kiwi house floor size is now 182 square metres, compared to the mid-1970s more modest average of 110sqm.

In Taranaki, the average house size was bigger, at 199sqm, based on the 521 building consents lodged for the year to August 2016.

Green said having a second living area was a major appeal for family houses, as well as large kitchens, multiple bathrooms and home offices – things that gave families space to live and relax on their own, but under the same roof.

However smaller, 160 sqm to 180 sqm houses were now in low supply, but in increasing demand, Green said.

“There’s actually a little bit of a hole in the market,” he said. “Some people don’t want the massive kitchen and three bathrooms.”

Those people were older couples, looking to retire and downsize, or young professional couples not looking for a house to accommodate kids just yet, he said.

Young and expanding families were driving a demand for bigger houses, but it was likely the demand for smaller houses will grow without the supply to support it, he said.

When we had nice and compact 2 or 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom homes, the houses were affordable. ?But then those idiots came along saying that if 2 kids share a bedroom, they are living in material poverty.

When those houses were built, they weren’t overly insulated. ?As a result, there was no mould as air could move around it without the need of a specialised system.

And finally, they were small enough to heat efficiently.

You can see where all this went wrong, can’t you?

Somehow first home owners need 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, internal access garaging, a bedroom each for the kids, fully insulated, also fully aired and well heated all for less than $450,000.

We’ve stuffed ourselves.


– Hannah Lee, Stuff