Homes and Spaces for Generations
This four-year research programme is funded through the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Building Challenge (BBHTC).
The research responds to:
- The under-supply of affordable housing and poor housing affordability in all regions.
- People struggling to sustain acceptable living standards due to housing costs.
- The emergence of homelessness as owner occupation has fallen and housing costs and house prices in both rental and owner occupier sectors have increased.
Those problems affect young and old, beneficiaries and key workers. Housing costs and under-supply are putting a brake on local economies, provision of vital services and compromise New Zealand’s pursuit of wellbeing in the short and long terms. Housing costs are driving inequality.
The research focus includes three core dynamics:
- Housing markets, systems and people’s wellbeing.
- Affordable housing in owner occupation and rentals.
- Investment in production and delivery of affordable housing and housing for key workers.
These dynamics are explored in the components detailed in the workplan. The research workplan has five components that build on previous research and engagement with stakeholders and researchers.
1. Component A – MARKETS, HOUSING DISTRIBUTION AND WELLBEING
This component will build on findings from the Architecture of Decision-making and Lower Quartile Value research in BBHTC Phase I which established:
(a) The decline in affordable housing supply is linked to the removal of supply-side targeted investment in affordable housing new-builds;
(b) New Zealand’s past investment in affordable, secure housing mitigated the effects of inequality and improved life chances;
(c) Popular narratives and discourse frame unmet housing need in terms of personal failure on the part of individuals or failure of Government to target and address homelessness. This represents a persistent and widespread narrative that market mechanisms, if uninhibited, are still an effective mechanism to deliver affordable housing.
This component asks:
- Why does the market struggle to deliver affordable housing and housing affordable to key workers?
- Has the commodification of housing enabled the development of an “extractive” building and residential property industry in New Zealand. What are the potential impacts on wellbeing?
- What populations are most vulnerable to the insecurity generated by treating housing as a consumption good. How does this impact on wellbeing?
- What tools are being developed internationally to address crises in affordable housing? What has been shown to work?
- What changes are needed in the political, media and community discourse to support take up of alternative approaches, narratives and understanding.
2. Component B – PRICE POINTS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING & HOUSING AFFORDABLE FOR KEY WORKERS
This component asks:
- What are the regional and Local Housing Market Price Points (rent and owner occupied) for Affordable Housing for households earning at the 40th percentile or below?
- Do those price points vary between Māori, Pacific and ‘Other’ populations?
- What is the size in selected regional and Local Housing Markets of the current and forecast unmet need for affordable housing (across tenures) for populations as a whole and disaggregated by Māori, Pacific and ‘Other’ populations?
- How should we define key workers? Do those definitions vary between different regions and localities?
- What are the price points for housing affordable to key workers in selected regional and Local Housing Markets (rent and owner occupied)?
- Do those price points vary between Māori, Pacific and ‘Other’ populations of key workers?
- What is the size in selected regional and Local Housing Markets of the current and forecast unmet need for key workers for populations as a whole and disaggregated by Māori, Pacific and ‘Other’ populations?
- What are the price points for Māori living within each rohe both for those requiring affordable housing and for Māori key workers including ahi kā?
3. Component C – MEANING OF HOME & DIMENSIONS OF AFFORDABILITY
This component asks:
- How do people with different cultural attachments, material conditions, place, communities and personal circumstances manage their perceptions, aspirations and practices to balance their desire for home and need for affordability?
- How do they define affordability?
- Are there trade-offs that people would make to optimize their sense of home and its affordability in relation to:
- Amenity within dwellings and in the places in which they are situated?
- Dwelling design?
4. Component D- AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND THE IMPACT OF DWELLINGS
This component explores whether better building design, materials, and systems can reduce the operating costs of dwellings over their life cycles. It will determine the impacts of dwelling performance on housing affordability, establish the efficacy of market and regulatory pathways for change; and develop value cases for change. It focuses on three aspects of building performance and costs:
- Durability of dwellings.
- The functionality and accessibility of dwellings.
- The operating costs of dwellings in relation to energy and water consumption.
5. Component E – REALISING HOUSING’S PUBLIC GOOD – FUNDING & DEVELOPING FIT FOR PEOPLE HOUSING FUTURES
This component will identify opportunities to activate investment and sustained funding streams for affordable housing; how to dismantle barriers to affordable housing supply; and how different tenure models promote affordable housing and housing affordable to key workers. It asks:
- What are effective pathways for encouraging investment, sustained funding streams and development?
- How can household and community resources be maximised for affordable housing provision through diversified tenure?
- How can land use planning be harnessed for affordable housing?
The key research activities relate to case studies of innovative housing types, models and organisation to inform good practice models for investment in and production of affordable housing and housing affordable to key workers. The key innovations are:
- Community land trusts.
- Mixed public, private and community collaborations in provincial areas for developing affordable housing and housing affordable for key workers.
- Affordable housing innovations with multiply-owned Māori land.