Hop faces rental short­age

Coastal News - - Front Page - By ALISON SMITH news@coastal­news.co.nz

Arock ’n roll fes­ti­val with no mu­sic could be the out­come of rock­et­ing costs to ac­com­mo­date acts at Whanga­mata¯ ’s Repco Beach Hop, say or­gan­is­ers, who are pay­ing 20 per cent more than last year to se­cure hol­i­day homes.

How­ever rental prop­erty man­agers say it’s just the re­al­ity of a free mar­ket and a symp­tom of the huge pres­sure on ob­tain­ing rentals fol­low­ing re­cent sales.

The Beach Hop is held an­nu­ally in March, draw­ing 100,000 peo­ple who travel from New Zealand and around the world for a five-day cel­e­bra­tion of 50s and 60s-themed mu­sic, dance, hot rods and fash­ion.

All pro­ceeds raised are given to lo­cal vol­un­teer emer­gency ser­vices char­i­ties. Some $500,000 has been do­nated over the 18 years the event has been held.

It of­fi­cially kicks off this Satur­day with a Labour Week­end car, bike and trac­tor show at the Whanga­mata¯ Club. The cars will leave the club at 2pm for a pa­rade through the town cen­tre and re­turn to the club for prize­giv­ing.

“We en­cour­age as many lo­cals with spe­cial in­ter­est cars, bikes and trac­tors to bring them down to the club carpark,” says or­gan­iser Noddy Watts.

“There will be five $50 en­trant prize draws and 12 tro­phies to give away as part of the event, which marks the of­fi­cial start to the lead-up to Beach Hop in March next year.” Around 20 houses are needed each fes­ti­val for hous­ing bands and other spe­cial guests who are brought in from around the coun­try and over­seas. How­ever, Noddy says the ris­ing cost of pro­vid­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for them in rented hol­i­day houses in the town is hav­ing a big im­pact on the pro­ceeds.

This year the nightly price for a hol­i­day house is $350 to $400 and many own­ers are de­mand­ing five-night min­i­mums for the four-night fes­ti­val.

“Over the last five years we’ve been get­ting smarter about find­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and we now have 200 mo­torhomes stay­ing at Whanga­mata¯ Area School and 110 retro car­a­vans, with the coun­cil open­ing up the pony club grounds for self­con­tained mo­torhomes.

“We are try­ing to be proac­tive. But we think peo­ple should be aware we can’t sus­tain fur­ther in­creases like that be­fore it will be a rock’n roll fes­ti­val with no mu­sic. It’s a con­cern for us.”

Real es­tate agent Gor­don Turner, of Whanga­mata¯ First Na­tional, says while he sym­pa­thises with the vol­un­teers who or­gan­ise Beach Hop and other events in town, it was a free mar­ket and peo­ple should get real about prices.

“If you own a $900,000 prop­erty, are you happy to get $200 a night for it? No, it’s go­ing to rent for $400. For a prop­erty like that, the rates will be $4500 a year, and it’ll be around $4500 just to in­sure it.

“All of these mech­a­nisms aren’t go­ing to go away even if you think prices are too dear,” he says. “Get real.”

Mr Turner says First Na­tional Whanga­mata¯ had 150 rental prop­er­ties on its books but these rentals were “a mov­ing tar­get” as own­ers might de­cide not to rent out but en­joy the prop­erty them­selves dur­ing hol­i­days and events.

“Prop­erty own­ers are al­ready pay­ing through the nose in rates, and their wages haven’t gone up.

“The big­ger pic­ture in Whanga­mata¯ is that we’ve been dec­i­mated by sales that have taken out over 50 per cent of the rental pool in three years . . . at least 150 houses in Whanga­mata¯ are no longer avail­able to rent.

“That’s a huge amount of pres­sure now. We’ve got bril­liant per­ma­nent ten­ants stand­ing by and busi­ness own­ers who can’t find staff to work at Christ­mas be­cause there’s noth­ing for them to rent.”

The big­ger pic­ture in Whanga­mata¯ is that we’ve been dec­i­mated by sales that have taken out over 50 per cent of the rental pool in three years . . . — GOR­DON TURNER Whanga­mata¯ First Na­tional agent

PHOTO / FILE

The ris­ing cost of ac­com­mo­da­tion for acts per­form­ing at Whanga­mata’s Beach Hop is putting a big strain on the event.

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