Construction and sale of state houses, 1938-2002

Construction and sale of state houses, 1938-2002

After an initial surge in 1951/52, sales of state houses declined before stabilising in mid-decade. Following Labour's election victory in 1957 they dropped steeply before rising briefly in the early 1960s with the return of National. The new government extended the family benefit capitalisation scheme to state tenants. (Under this scheme the state advanced people with children who were buying their first home up to £1,000 of their family benefit – a universal welfare provision – to use as a deposit on a house.) Another jump occurred in 1968/69 when rent increases encouraged tenants to buy. Sales rose again from 1972, fuelled by further rent hikes, generous purchasing terms, and a buoyant property market. In 1975, concerned at the depletion of stock, the Labour government curtailed sales, except in areas of high concentration such as Porirua East and Mangere. Few houses were sold until 1980, when National cut the minimum deposit for a state house from 20 to 10 percent – and in some cases 5 percent. After Labour returned to power in 1984 it stopped sales for two years. Sales then skyrocketed during the 1990s, fuelled by National's desire to reduce the state housing stock, but fell at the end of the decade as a new Labour-led government placed another moratorium on most sales.

Total number of State Houses, 1938–2002

Graph showing number of state houses, 1938-2002

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