For example, in Auckland, accommodation is relatively expensive (prices are often as much as 50 per cent higher than elsewhere) and can be in short supply in popular areas. Property prices rose sharply in New Zealand during the early years of the 21st century, but in 2005 price increases tailed off and some commentators are predicting price falls in 2006 and 2007.
As in many other countries, there has recently been an increase in apartment living in city centres, and prices of apartments in some areas are comparable with those for houses, although most New Zealanders prefer a house with a garden. Home ownership in New Zealand is high at around 68 per cent (similar to the UK), down from 74 per cent in 1995, and most New Zealanders prefer to purchase their home rather than rent. In recent years, however, there’s been a marked increase in property rentals, particularly in Auckland. In addition, a significant number of New Zealanders also own a holiday home (called a ‘ bach’ in the North Island and a ‘ crib’ in the South Island), although it’s often quite a modest property.
New Zealanders are quite mobile and tend to move home much more frequently than people in some other countries, with nearly 100,000 domestic properties changing hands each year (a large number for a country with just over 4 million inhabitants). During the last few years there has been a small but marked movement of people from the South to the North Island and from throughout the country to Auckland, which has helped to fuel property shortages and accompanying higher prices in this part of the country.