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Renters ‘financially stretched’

ELISA VORSTER

[email protected]

Stark new figures show almost 50 per cent of Wairarapa renters are “financially stressed” and are forced to fork out accommodation costs beyond their means.

Numbers appear to be on the rise, and most acutely felt in South Wairarapa, according to a report prepared by Livingston Associates to be discussed at yesterday’s Carterton District Council policy and strategy meeting.

While the region has a home ownership level higher than the national average, at over 70 per cent, the figures show many of those renting in our region are doing it tough.

The report defines private sector households paying more than 30 per cent of their gross household income on rent as being “financially stressed”.

Almost half of Wairarapa renters fell into this category as of June 2017.

Those paying more than 50 per cent of their gross household income on rent — almost a quarter of rental households in the region — are considered “severely financially stressed”.

The report will be considered as part of Wairarapa’s joint response to its housing issues.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson heads the Wairarapa Housing Task Group [WHTG], formed to develop, support and provide housing for people in Wairarapa.

She said while the figures weren’t telling them anything they didn’t already know, they will help the region continue the “big push for more housing” from the government.

“I hear all the time there is a chronic shortage of rental accommodation in Masterton,” she said.

“It’s always at the top of my mind.”

She said she found out very quickly that figures around housing changed rapidly meaning the available data could be outdated within a year.

WHTG did further research to obtain a more up to date reflection on the housing crisis in the region to be able to show the extent of the crisis in the region.

“When you go to the government, the first thing they are going to say is ‘Can you show us the need?’

“The figures were showing we didn’t have a need here so the latest research helps build a picture that, yes, we have a need here.”

Discussion between local councils and Trust House, with Housing Minister Phil Twyford and the Social Development Ministry, was already underway and would continue, she said.

 

 

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