• Wellington focus needed for tenancy reform

    A report on New Zealand’s housing market needs better analysis of the Wellington rental market to identify long-term solutions that will ease pressure on the city’s rental stock.

    A Stocktake of New Zealand’s Housing released by the Government this week points to trends that show 70% of the new households formed over the past decade and 574,000 homes in New Zealand are renters. The Government commissioned the report in late 2017 to better understand the problems facing the housing market.

    The report has taken a holistic view across New Zealand and identified improved housing supply as a critical factor in easing pressure on the rental market. As recently as December both the Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, and Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester met to discuss addressing the housing shortage in the Capital, agreeing a solution was needed for Wellington.

    Grant Foggo, Director of property management company Comprende, says the report would have benefited from a closer analysis of the Wellington rental market, to identify specific local issues and guide future policy and strategy.

    “The report makes reference to things that aren’t common in Wellington – for example, sales of homes, requiring the end of the resident’s tenancy, and constant rental increases,” Mr Foggo said.

    “This does not reflect our knowledge of the city’s market – and suggests the authors have mostly turned their attention to areas like Auckland to make their conclusions. It’s important we are a relevant part of the conversation.”

    “Better understanding of why people rent in Wellington is also needed. We are slightly different in our local market and attract a broad range of people – for example, we have a large student population, a number of foreign workers who are drawn to the city to work in our vibrant creative sector, as well as many who relocate to the capital for work opportunities. 12-month term tenancies are preferred by both owners and property residents.

    It’s likely Wellington’s housing market will experience significant changes over the next few years, with both the Government and the Wellington City Council indicating a Housing Accord is being considered for the Capital.

    “With possible changes to zoning, and potentially building ‘up’ instead of ‘out’ in the suburbs, we need to make sure we understand as much as we can about our local housing market now. This will help us make better decisions for the future – delivering a supply of housing that meets the needs and demands of Wellington,” Foggo said.