In the early 20th century the number of New Zealanders renting and owning their homes was about equal. Government initiatives to encourage a property-owning democracy – through cheap state mortgages and other subsidies – saw home-ownership rates skyrocket in the first half of the 1920s. They fell during the 1930s economic depression, then rose steadily, peaking at 73.8% in 1991. Since then home-ownership rates have declined. The reasons include increased housing costs, lower subsidies and young people delaying settling down and having children. By the 21st century the ideal of a property-owning democracy was in retreat.
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Source: New Zealand census, 1916–2006