A property expert says a new Government report on housing is nothing more than an ideological witch-hunt.

The report reveals homelessness is more widespread than previously thought, and many are missing out on emergency housing.

Property Institute chief executive Ashley Church says the Government was right to investigate the housing market.

But he told Mike Hosking rather than look at the issues facing renters, movers and first-home buyers, the report is just a political argument.

Advertisement

"The focus has diverted away from all of that good stuff into one particular area - the area of homelessness - in a way which is unreasonable and amplifies those figures."

The report was written by economist Shamubeel Eaqub, Otago University Professor of Public Health Philippa Howden-Chapman and the Salvation Army's Alan Johnson and will be released this morning by Housing Minister Phil Twyford.

It identifies a hidden homeless population that is not officially monitored by government agencies.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has released a "sobering" stocktake on housing which has found homelessness was worse than thought and there was a growing "floating" population of people in insecure housing.

It warned that New Zealand was "quickly becoming a society divided by the ownership of housing and its related wealth".

It also showed home ownership had slumped dramatically since the 1980s - especially among Pacific and Maori people - and Auckland's housing problem was created by a mix of population growth, partly fuelled by migration, and the construction and land development sectors "hindering" housing affordability.

It also pointed to a potential time bomb in the impact on housing affordability on the elderly, finding the proportion of older people who were living in mortgage-free homes had dropped from 86 per cent to 72 per cent since the 1980s.

The housing report was authored by economist Shamubeel Eaqub, University of Otago Professor of Public Health Philippa Howden-Chapman and the Salvation Army's Alan Johnson.

Twyford said it was "sobering".

"It paints a sobering picture of the devastating impacts of the housing crisis, particularly on children. Homelessness, transience and substandard housing have had a lasting and sometimes even deadly effect on our youngest."