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Sober findings in major survey of Queenstown Lakes renters

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Residential renters in Queenstown and Wanaka are still experiencing significant housing stress in the the rental market despite rent prices falling in June, a local survey reveals.

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust (QLCHT) surveyed more than 500 renters in June as part of its regular market research into the residential rental situation across the district. This year’s survey was expanded to include questions around wellbeing and the personal impact of COVID-19.

Key findings are: 89% of respondents consider, or possibly consider, housing affordability a barrier to their long-term commitment to the District

78% of respondents who have rented in other parts of New Zealand consider affordability in the district worse than the rest of the country

25% of respondents are unsatisfied with the warmth and dryness of their current housing, with the cost of heating and poor insulation noted as key barriers to adequate heating

In regards to wellbeing and the personal impact of COVID-19, 79% of respondents experienced some degree of lost income, either through redundancy or reduced hours of work

73% of respondents had a household income under $100,000 per annum

78% of respondents aspire to buy a home in the district.

QLCHT executive officer Julie Scott says the survey results are important findings for the community, adding that the Trust receives consistently high demand for housing assistance.

"We currently have 600 households on our waiting list, and demand has been growing post-COVID-19. Housing costs are the single largest cost item in a household budget for most of our key workers in town and incomes simply don’t compensate for these higher costs in our district - and this remains the case despite Queenstown rents taking their biggest drop in seven years."

Established to manage and deliver affordable housing solutions to residents who cannot afford it, QLCHT has several programmes in place to help low-moderate income households including public housing, assisted rental, rent-to-buy, and assisted ownership. It has assisted 177 households to date with another 50 expected over the next 12 months.

"This research helps us better understand what housing hurdles renters are facing and where the greatest need lies in terms of future programmes and the allocation of resources," Scott adds.

The online survey was designed and conducted in-house by QLCHT. It follows on from previous research undertaken by QLCHT in 2009, 2012 and 2016. Respondents were predominantly female (74%), New Zealand citizens or permanent residents (80%), NZ European ethnicity (40%), aged 30 to 39 years (40%) and living in Queenstown (82%).

The survey report, along with full findings, can be found on QLCHT’s website .

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