The Nation on property problems

Yesterday The Nation looked at ongoing serious property problems in Auckland. All that seems to be changing is the stories being told, in this case the ‘hidden homeless’, which is a growing problem due to very high property prices and rental rates.

Auckland’s hidden homeless

A growing numbers of families are being forced to live in cars because of unaffordable housing.

Government figures show rents for three-bedroom houses across Auckland have increased by 25 percent in five years, and that’s spawned a new type of property market — garage rental accommodation.

Social workers say some families are paying almost $400 a week to put a garage roof over their heads, and a social policy analyst says one in 10 south Auckland properties has a garage tenant.

“What you will notice is that if you drive down any road, probably every second or third garage has curtains in and windows in and people living in it,” says social policy analyst Alan Johnson.

Newshub spoke to a group of 50 social workers who said families living in garages is common. We heard of one case with a family with two young kids had been living in a garage for two years. Their weekly rent? $380.

The squeeze on housing stocks is driving the demand for garage space. There are 4500 people on the Housing New Zealand waiting list, and emergency accommodation providers like the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust have been turning families away for years.

“We house 12 families here,” says Bernie Smith of the Monte Cecilia Trust. “We have another 32 families in long-term properties, but we have 30 families waiting to be here today who are in crisis.”

Sounds dire – and it is for people who are having to live in garages and cars.

But the Government maintains it’s doing what it can to address the problem.

Are they doing enough? The problems seem to be getting worse if anything.

Freeing up more land and building more houses – many more are needed – is a long term project that has been with Auckland for many years.

And it’s not just Auckland with extreme housing problems. RNZ looked at Queenstown and elsewhere:

Queenstown rental problem worsens due to Air BnB

A Queenstown landlord says he has taken a big financial risk to buy properties in the resort town which traditionally has emptied out over summer.

Tourist workforce’s accommodation struggles

With annual tourist numbers set to rise to over four million within the next six years, the issue of accommodating the workforce that supports them is a hot topic with local mayors for Housing Minister Nick Smith.

Housing remains the Government’s biggest challenge, and they don’t seem to have risen to the challenge yet.

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