Housing deficit forecast despite building record

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 05/06/2014

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Housing will remain in short supply for another five years despite a big jump in house building, says Housing Minister Nick Smith.

Smith told a housing forum called by the Tenants Protection Association in Christchurch yesterday that house building in the city was at previously unseen levels.

While he expected housing numbers would be back to pre-quake levels by 2016, the rising population complicated things.

"The housing market is going to remain tight until 2018," he said.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand yesterday show Canterbury home construction jumped almost a third from December to March, while consent data released last week put the city's new home approvals at their highest level on electronic record.

Smith said the two new temporary villages planned for Christchurch would help ease the shortage by removing owners sitting out repairs from the rental pool.

He expected the new complexes, to built by private developers on council-owned land on Welles St in the central city and the corner of Colombo and Brougham streets in Sydenham, would add about 200 homes.

"We're now getting to the hard end of repairs, with people needing four or five months out of their homes," Smith said, adding those who had exhausted rental insurance would also need help.

Ali Brunel, from Tenants Protection, said tenants with problems were having to wait too long for Tenancy Tribunal help, and many were too scared of eviction to complain.

Smith urged tenants being overcharged or in substandard housing to approach the Tenancy Tribunal.

"I need to send a message to the landlording community that we are watching and we are going to resource this".

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