Toko­roa af­ford­able - now it’s cri­sis time

Waikato Times - - News - LUKE KIRKEBY

Fam­i­lies are liv­ing in garages and car­a­vans as out-of-town­ers buy up cheap Toko­roa prop­er­ties.

Sal­va­tion Army lieu­tenant Steve Molan is turn­ing 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.’’

He said the Sal­va­tion Army was strug­gling 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.

Taupo¯ MP Louise Up­ston said in­creas­ing the area’s hous­ing stock was go­ing to take time but the Gov­ern­ment was work­ing to speed things up.

She said she plans to meet with South Waikato Mayor Jenny Shat­tock, the coun­cil, and so­cial hous­ing providers to dis­cuss hous­ing so­lu­tions in the short to medium term.

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