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Danish economists consult with Massey property team

His Excellency, Ambassador Tom Nørring, Danish Ambassador to New Zealand; Mr Curt Lilliegreen, Mr Michael Harboe Møller, Mr Kasper Herrig Thorndal and Ms Shangitha Satgunalingam from the Centre for Housing Economics, Denmark; and Dr Pushpa Wood, Mr David White and Associate Professor Graham Squires from Massey's School of Economics and Finance.

A delegation of Danish economists visited Massey University this week to find out how New Zealand deals with the issue of affordable housing. The group, from the Centre for Housing Economics at private philanthropic organisation Realdania, met with researchers from the Massey Business School’s property programme.

Associate Professor Graham Squires, Massey’s head of property, said the economists were looking for innovations they could take back to Denmark. 

“They wanted to know if there were any lessons to be learned from New Zealand, especially in terms of modelling around social housing and housing affordability,” he said.

“We were able to give them insights into the residential property market here, including economic drivers and policies to address social housing issues. We also offered to share research from our Real Estate Analysis Unit, which includes empirical work on housing affordability and the rental market and analytical approaches to measuring housing affordability.” 

Some Scandinavian suggestions

The meeting was a two-way exchange of ideas, and the Danish delegation offered some suggestions for New Zealand.

Curt Lillegreen, Centre for Housing Economics project director, said there was no “quick fix” to the affordable housing crisis. He estimated it could take up to 25 years to address and would require a bipartisan approach from the country’s political leaders. 

“To create affordable housing you need legislation to protect the rental market,” he said. “Perhaps look to countries like Germany, France and Scandinavia, where more protections were available to tenants.”

Social housing was another area where New Zealand could increase its current stock of around five per cent, he said. “In Denmark, the social housing provision is at about 20 per cent, for example, and in the Netherlands it is at 30 per cent.”

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