Strug­gling to find a home

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

Toko­roa’s rental short­age has reached cri­sis point as out-oftown­ers buy up cheap prop­er­ties.

Toko­roa Sal­va­tion Army lieu­tenant Steve Molan said he’s hav­ing to turn away two to three fam­i­lies look­ing for rentals a week as the district’s hous­ing short­age in­ten­si­fies.

‘‘A cou­ple of years ago you would be look­ing for a flat and there would be a whole list of op­tions but now there might be two flats or some­times no flats on [real es­tate agents] books for weeks,’’ he said.

‘‘Peo­ple are do­ing all sorts of things to try and get through. There are peo­ple with two or three kids hav­ing to live in car­a­vans, in garages, or they are dou­bling up with fam­i­lies which is caus­ing over­crowd­ing.’’

‘‘It is af­fect­ing ev­ery­one whether it is par­ents with kids, sin­gle peo­ple, or cou­ples. There are just no houses in Toko­roa. Toko­roa is in a cri­sis,’’ he said.

Molan said the main causes were out-of-town­ers buy­ing up cheap prop­er­ties and land­lords mov­ing in or want­ing to ren­o­vate prop­er­ties to sell. The av­er­age res­i­den­tial prop­erty price in the South Waikato now sits at $209,480 which is a rise of 24.4 per cent in the last 12 months.

‘‘Peo­ple have moved down from Auck­land, Ro­torua, Hamil­ton and Taupo¯ and are buy­ing up houses be­cause it is too ex­pen­sive [else­where] and some land­lords are also do­ing houses up be­cause they want to sell them so they have asked ten­ants to leave.’’

‘‘[It] has caused all the rents in the last cou­ple of years to in­crease. You are now pay­ing $250 for a three bed­room house whereas it would have been $170.’’

‘‘Peo­ple are turn­ing up to look at flats and there are 15 other peo­ple lined up in the same des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion,’’ he said.

He said the Sal­va­tion Army was in dire straits try­ing to help.

‘‘We have got three emer­gency houses and peo­ple can stay for up to three months but I can’t even place the peo­ple that we have got into their own home and they are good peo­ple,’’ he said.

‘‘All the so­cial agen­cies have got the same prob­lem. They have got peo­ple pre­sent­ing them­selves all the times.’’

‘‘The only op­tion we have got in Toko­roa is for them to go and find a fam­ily mem­ber, move out of town and find a fam­ily mem­ber, or go some­times where they can get into the mo­tor camp,’’ he said.

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