Tokoroa affordable - now it’s crisis time
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.