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