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Housing shortage


Wairarapa’s housing stock reaches record low
Houses becoming ‘unaffordable’

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The number of homes for sale in Wairarapa has reached a record low and leaders are looking at how to prepare for future growth.

Realestate.co.nz’s figures, published yesterday show that on January 30, Wairarapa had just 171 properties for sale, a decrease of 49.3 per cent when compared with the same day in January 2019.

This is the lowest number of houses for sale in Wairarapa since records started 13 years ago.

Realestate.co.nz spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor said it was a tight market without a lot of stock and an average asking price of $559,092 looked to climb higher in future.

“There was a bit of a deluge that happened in 2015-2016. We saw plenty of people in the main centres move out to the regions. Wellingtonians were moving out to Wairarapa,” she said.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said the average price of property in South Wairarapa had dramatically increased in the past 12 months.

“So that obviously is showing migration from the bigger centres.

“From a South Wairarapa perspective, you’ve really got to look at what those people are using that property for.”

While there are some people buying to live permanently in South Wairarapa, Beijen suggested that many were looking for second houses.

“Therefore, when as a council we look at zoning, we need to work out what the problem is. In my mind, the council should be reacting to a social problem, not a rich person’s problem.

“If we’re going to increase the supply of land, we need to strategically look at how we can rezone land that will eventually result in a house for a low to middle income earner as opposed to supplying wealthy people with baches.”

At the moment, the council is relying on subdivision of existing properties within the district plan.

“There is a spatial plan which is being worked on which will look at this through a 20, 30, and 40-year outlook on where the growth will be – we should have that sorted out later this year.”

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang said the council was aware that the town was going to grow and if growth wasn’t allowed for, it would push the value of houses up, making them unaffordable for many people.

“What we’re doing is an urban growth strategy where we’re planning to expand the availability of land for housing so we’re planning for that, but we don’t want growth for growth’s sake.

“Currently in Carterton, there’s quite a bit of potential for in-filling – there’s empty sections and quite a few properties that could be subdivided in the residential zone already but we’re planning for the future.”

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said people had to look further than just the number of properties on the market – such as the number of consents granted and number of people moving into the region.

“There might be a number of reasons people aren’t putting their houses on the market.

“They might be uncertain about what’s going on in the economy.

“They don’t feel confident enough to buy a new property.

“What you want is an economy with confidence. So people feel confident enough to buy a house and the builder has confidence to buy the land and build the houses for those potential purchases.”

Wairarapa based Labour list MP Kieran McAnulty said while sales numbers had dropped people would see more houses available here in the near future.

“People continue to flock to Wairarapa. Building activity is extremely high, with tradies across the region absolutely flat out.

“There are new developments under way in every district. The government is increasing the public housing stock in Wairarapa which should have happened under the last government but didn’t.”


  1. Building affordable housing for low income folk should be an absolute priority of Wairarapa councils. Pressure on foodbanks indicates how large the shortfall is between cost of rents and available income for too many people.

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