Although much of the focus in the housing market debate has been around Auckland’s affordability, New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, has also been affected by growing prices.
In 2017, the median housing prices across the country rose to more than $405,000, a rise of 5.8 per cent. In Wellington, the rise was much higher at 18 per cent for the 12-month period ending in June 2017.
The housing market in Wellington is likely to change in the next few years with the Government and Wellington City Council looking into a Housing Accord whereby an agreement between the Minister for Building and Housing and the local council work together to address the supply and affordability issues in the capital.
A recent Government report on New Zealand’s housing market, A Stocktake of New Zealand’s Housing, showed that 70 per cent of the new households formed in the past decade in New Zealand are renters. The report, however, doesn’t take into consideration the housing shortage in Wellington, nor does it identify a solution for this.
What’s being done?
The Wellington Housing Affordability Measure (WHAM) is being developed by the City Council as part of its draft Housing Strategy, which was approved in December. WHAM will research to understand which housing is affordable to specific population groups, and identify who the housing is affordable for. This data is likely to affect future policies designed to tackle the issue effectively.
In a bid to make attending university easier for young students, Victoria University in Wellington are planning to build accommodation for its students as the availability of rentals in the city declines. The accommodation will be available to post-first year students at prices that are fairer than those on the current market.
In addition to the changes on a local level, New Zealand is preparing to ban foreigners from purchasing existing homes, a law that looks to come into effect later this year. The law aims to tackle rising house prices and slow their growth to help support New Zealanders looking to purchase a home.
 L. Dooney (2018), Wellington Universities look at housing more students https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/349444/wellington-universities-look-at-housing-more-students
 A. Thompson, (2018), New Zealand to Ban Foreign Home Buyers https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/new-zealand-to-ban-foreign-home-buyers/4240201.html