Huge interest in renting cost-friendly homes

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 13:00 02/10/2012
Roger McLean
MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ

ON SOLID GROUND: Roger McLean, contractor for Hybrid Homes sets up the foundations for one of the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust’s projects developing affordable rental accommodation project at the Brook St site.

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Dozens of inquiries are flooding in from households eager to secure affordable homes from Nelson Tasman Housing Trust.

Building has started on new homes in Brook St, adding to another 17 new homes that the trust will begin building this year and helping low and median-income households struggling to afford housing in the area.

Latest figures from interest.co.nz show Nelson's home affordability remains out of reach for most singles, while households have to spend 25 per cent of median income, $1360, on median rent, $350, for a three-bedroom home.

Nelson Tasman Housing Trust co-ordinator Patrick Steer said the nine two and three-bedroom homes in Brook St should be completed by the middle of next year. Consent approval was expected this month for another eight homes in Lawrence St in Victory, adding to the 15 permanent homes the trust now rents out.

However, expressions of interest started as far back as last year when residents heard the trust was building more homes for households struggling to afford housing in the area, Mr Steer said.

Already the trust had been contacted by more than 20 people once word got out, but he assured potential tenants the homes had yet to be allocated and spots were unable to be reserved.

"Expressions of interest started ages ago, since 2011 . . . we had people saying we want to become tenants," Mr Steer said.

The homes would be allocated based on rental applications, which were available at the trust's Halifax St office or at nelsonhousing.org.nz.

The trust hoped to select tenants for the Brook St development, funded with a $1.2 million 10-year, interest-free loan from Housing New Zealand and bank mortgages, by the end of this year. Tenants would likely be able to move in about March next year. "It's going to be challenging because we won't have enough houses for all the people wanting one, who you know could really benefit from it," Mr Steer said.

"Some people are questioning the choice of renting in the area . . . compared to buying when at least they are left with an asset."

The Roost Home Loan Affordability report, released yesterday, shows the median rent in Nelson takes 25.8 per cent of a median income for a first-home buyer household - two adults aged 25-29, both working - while buying a median home takes 28.3 per cent of a first-home buyer's income to meet the mortgage and other costs.

This compared to 51.2 per cent of an individual's median income to pay the mortgage on a median priced house purchased in August, down from July's 55.2 per cent. Above 40 per cent is considered unaffordable, the report says.

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- The Nelson Mail

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