No crisis in Christchurch housing

REINZ (Real Estate Institute of New Zealand) figures showed the median rent for a two-bedroom unit in Christchurch’s central city had increased $43 in the past three years. In Auckland, a two-bedroom unit in the central city went up $50 during the same period.

Some areas in Christchurch are being shunned by renters. One independent landlord told The Press people had not wanted to rent his New Brighton property.

‘‘[The property] was a family home, fully fenced, double garage. Rent was still very low through Harcourts – $230 for a three bedroom – but the roadworks put people off. I think people are being too picky.’’

Tony Brazier, of Braziers Property Investors, blamed news reports.

‘‘The news is actually highlighting people who have problems finding property anyway. What’s happened now is the landlords don’t have to take those people who don’t bother paying or have a terrible credit rating or pit bull dogs.’’

Mayor Bob Parker said he had never spoken to anybody, even those who were struggling, who hadn’t been able to find somewhere in the end.

The Press spoke to many people who said they had found a rental easily.

Kim Thompson said: ‘‘We moved after all the earthquakes, have an awesome house with fabulous landlords and great rent.’’

Serra Kilduff said while it took her longer than usual to find a nice place, she and her partner managed it.

‘‘It took a couple of months to find a place that wasn’t falling down, had insulation and heating, a garden, and wasn’t $600 a week. We have been very lucky in finally finding a great place with fantastic landlords.’’

Christchurch’s social housing also failed to reflect a city-wide crisis. Housing New Zealand had recorded a marked decrease in the number of people on its waiting list for social housing units – dropping from 744 people in 2010 to 195 in 2013.

However, the average wait time for someone on the list to get a house has grown to 22 days, compared with 13.5 days before the September 2010 quake.

The number of people on the Christchurch City Council’s social housing waiting list was very similar to pre-quake levels. In March 2010 there were 324 people waiting for a social housing unit compared to 342 on the list in 2013.

However, welfare agencies suggested these statistics may be misleading. Gatonyi said many people failed to meet the criteria to get on the list: ‘‘You’ve got to show you’re in substantial or extreme hardship to get a property. A lot of people are applying and not meeting the criteria.’’

Others did not bother applying for the houses because they knew there was ‘‘no point’’.


  • The Press

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