Kapiti Housing Crisis?

‘Local poor face soaring rents because of Expressway construction.’

‘NZTA must respond.’ says Guru

 by Alan Tristram

Kapiti Road and ExpresswayKapiti Coast District Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) says the Transport Agency (NZTA) must act now to help poor people facing soaring rents because of the new Expressway.

The Paraparaumu ward councillor, who came a credible second in the recent mayoral contest, has now turned his attention to major social problems facing the Kapiti Coast.cartoon re Guru

He says the Mackay’s to Peka Peka Expressway  is already affecting Kapiti’s  housing and accommodation market — with rents starting to inflate in response to the early arrival of workers from outside the district.

“Limited supply of rental properties coupled with upward pressure on rents will negatively impact on the vulnerable sections of our communities.

 “I call on NZTA to view this as a matter of urgency and initiate monitoring. The public need to also know what measures NZTA could potentially take to respond and how council could work with NZTA to help mitigate such negative impacts.

“Increased employment of local labour already living here could be one form of mitigation.

“Most of the real estate agencies I have talked to have identified the initial demand, and rises in rents, as impacting on the middle and upper range of rental accommodation,” Cr Gurunathan says.

“Demand has been tracking up in the last three months due to the arrival of professionals like engineers, surveyors, planners and managers,” he says.

“The agencies expect this demand to rise sharply once the legal challenge to the project is cleared, full construction starts, and the district sees the arrival of trades people and labourers.

NZTA has publicly stated that they expect 500 permanent workers on the project and another 5,000 inducted over the four-year construction period. They will have a huge impact on housing and accommodation.

I am concerned the pressure on rental accommodation will negatively impact the more vulnerable sectors of our communities.

These include families with dependent children receiving benefits, one parent families, and senior citizens over 65 years-old dependent on NZ Super.

KCDC’s Assessment of Affordability Impact 2012 states that there are 5802 families with children renting accommodation, and 1566 of those are on a household income of less than $30,000. Of the 576 households of senior citizens over 65 years-old and renting, 19% are living below the poverty line with 240 receiving an income less than $20,000.

The recent Reserve Bank restrictions on low deposit loans, I believe, will make the rental supply market even tighter with first-time homebuyers unable to break out of the rental cycle.

One rental agency said the current lack of supply, increasing demand, and rising rents could see the vulnerable in Paraparaumu and Waikanae move north to Otaki.

That could put pressure on the Otaki rental market. The 2012 Affordability study rates Otaki as a high deprivation area with 85% of families being single parent families.

The study also singled out Maori as more likely to be in rental or temporary accommodation and living in more crowded housing environments than non-Maori.

The 2012 study projects household expenditure associated with rents and rates to increase over the next five years. This projection does not include the additional impact of the expressway construction on rents.

The study also notes that any increase in rates imposed by the KCDC will result in realtors delray beach property owners passing the increase on to tenants as rent fees.

Monitoring the impact of the expressway construction on “the housing supply and accommodation costs” is a specific requirement in the conditions imposed by the Board of Inquiry.

NZTA is required to set up Community Liaison Groups (CLGs) which are responsible for this monitoring and NZTA is required to respond to any concerns.

The beneficiaries can go and live in Levin, Might raise the IQ of both towns. IF you’re going to bum around all day, does it really matter which town you live in???