Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Rental shortage in Westport despite vacant properties, locals say

Westport, file image. Photo: Buller District Council

Westport locals are describing a dire shortage of rental properties in their town, despite dozens of vacant houses and more than 100 rooms listed on Airbnb.

Some renters are spending weeks bunking in emergency housing while they wait for a property to become available.

Jess Laulau said she was lured to the seaside settlement last year by the promise of cheaper, more plentiful rental properties than her hometown of Nelson.

That idea was rapidly debunked when she needed to find a new place to rent before lockdown and discovered there was next to nothing available.

"On TradeMe there were three listings or something, and you'd see something ridiculous like 157 people had it saved on their watchlist," she said.

"It was really scary. We got so close to the point where we were thinking about going back to Nelson to live at my mother's house, in her bedroom. It was very, very stressful."

Remax Elite real estate agent Zoe Godfrey-Payne also discovered, first hand, what it was like to find a rental in Westport in February.

She said even some of the 4600 locals who know the town inside and out were becoming extremely stressed when they tried to find new rental properties.

"There are a lot of tenants looking for properties. They're having to do emergency accommodation because they've got nowhere else to go, and emergency accommodation is quite short as well. I know of a couple of tenants who are living wherever they can, whether it's on the street or on the doorstep of a friend ... it's not that great right now."

Godfrey-Payne said over the past year, she'd observed an influx of out-of towners, many of retirement age, looking to buy properties on the West Coast.

She said some landlords had been all too keen to sell, claiming they were unhappy about upgrading their properties to meet new government standards like the insulation of rental properties, and the proposed banning no-cause tenancy termination's.

Other rentals which aren't yet for sale or up to code are forced to stand empty, or have been converted their properties into Airbnbs.

On a 10 minute drive around the centre of the town, Laulau said it would be difficult not to notice the empty houses with overgrown lawns.

Rents going up

Because there were fewer rental properties that remained on the market, Godfrey-Payne said landlords were able to push up the price of rent.

"To give you an idea: for the end of 2019 - and it's still current - a property that's worth $200,000 to purchase you'll get at least $300 in rent per week, even without a garage, for a three beddy, one bathroom. So [renters] are just getting whatever they can if they can afford it," she said.

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine hoped Westport's rental market would be on the mend soon, with economic stimulation from provincial growth fund projects getting the district back into "economic growth mode".

He said the council had identified housing as a potential hurdle to Buller's growth and it was looking at ways to get more rentals on the market.

But he said he was hopeful some Airbnbs would be turned back into long-term rentals when lockdown restrictions eased, due to less demand from tourists.

There were also signs, in the weeks prior to lockdown, that the problem was resolving itself.

"There seems to be quite a lot of building activity that's just come to light, in terms of applications for building consents for new houses," he said.

"From our point of view it looks like the market may be starting to move."

*See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>


The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>


Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog