• More than 100 on rental waiting list
  • Buoyant market fuelling sales
  • “Masterton is in dire need of rental homes right now.”

By Geoff Vause
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There is a chronic shortage of rental homes in Masterton, with a buoyant property market meaning rentals are being sold to first home buyers.

The shortage means the few remaining rentals are being snapped up immediately, with more than 100 people on one waiting list for available properties.

LJ Hooker rental manager Keith Archer said many homes bought in the town around 2007 at the height of the market were now being sold, shrinking the pool of available homes.

“Masterton is in dire need of rental homes right now,” he said.

He was seeing an influx of people from Auckland looking for rental homes.

“They are happy with the commute to Wellington.

“In this digital age they can work on the train. They can’t work stuck in Auckland traffic.

“Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that came into effect in July means landlords now want references, and they have a better choice of tenant.

“There are so many people applying, I don’t know how people manage who can’t provide references.”

Mr Archer said social housing providers such as Trust House with around 500 homes from Dannevirke to Featherston did not have enough rental homes available.

“They tend to be social housing providers more in name than reality,” Mr Archer said.

“They have stable tenancies and don’t have homes available.”

Christine Osborne manages rentals for Bayleys and said market demand saw many rental homes being sold.

“I have lots of tenants saying they need another home as the one they are in is being sold.

“We always had around 30 homes for rent at any one time. Now they are rented immediately — provided we find the right tenant of course.”

Ms Osborne said many were going to first home buyers so did not come back on as rentals.

She said it was good young couples could afford to buy homes in Wairarapa.

Nadine Shedlock at Trust House said they now had more than 100 people — including families — on their waiting list for homes.

“We have seen a strong increase in demand.

“We usually have 15-20 homes available, but now anything empty is going very quickly.”

Ms Shedlock said the average rent for a three-bedroom home at Masterton was $230-$250, and much of the demand was coming from families originally from Wairarapa returning to the area.

She said there had been increased inquiries for income-related rental subsidies, and these were referred to WINZ for eligibility.

“We are the last stop in Wairarapa for people desperately in need of homes,” Ms Shedlock said.

She said those waiting for homes were generally living with family and friends and needing their own place, or the place they were in was being sold. Others were returning to Wairarapa for family reasons.