State house sales reap $4m

Millions of dollars from state housing sales in the south could be going towards new homes in Auckland.

A Housing New Zealand spokeswoman said more than $4 million had been made from sales of southern state houses in the past year, including those sold under the FirstHome scheme and on the open market.

Housing New Zealand chief executive Glen Sowry said: "Proceeds from property sales are reinvested into the portfolio, particular in higher demand areas like Auckland."

The FirstHome scheme offers state houses to first-time buyers with lower incomes, and includes a grant towards their deposit.

The spokeswoman said 10 properties have been sold in the south, six in Invercargill, one in Gore, two in Balclutha, and one in Cromwell, which made more than $1.73m.

Nationally, 52 properties have been sold under FirstHome, with a combined total of $7.26m, with $715,900 paid out in grants.

In the past year, one property in the Queenstown Lakes district had been sold on the open market, one in the Southland District, two in Central Otago, one in the Clutha district, one in Gore, and 10 in Invercargill, to the tune of more than $2.3m, she said.

"The money goes back into the general pool and used for things like purchasing new homes, carrying out redevelopments, and undertaking refurbishments wherever they are needed, to make sure there are good quality, right-sized homes in the right places to meet demand," she said.

"When properties are put on the market it's because they're surplus to what is required to meet the needs of tenants or demand - for example, they're in the wrong location or of the wrong size/type to meet tenants' needs or demand."

Of the 384 properties in Invercargill, which were owned by Housing New Zealand, 22 were vacant because they were for sale, being repaired, or ready to be matched to someone on the waiting list.

In Gore there were 51 state houses, 10 of which were vacant and either on the market or earmarked for sale.

There were 36 state houses in the Clutha district.

Of the two properties that were vacant, one was ready to be matched to someone on the waiting list, and the other was earmarked for sale.

All of the 21 state houses in Central Otago were tenanted.

There were seven state houses in the Southland District, one of which is for sale, the rest were tenanted.

In Queenstown Lakes District, there were 19 properties which were all tenanted except for one, which was for sale, and another about to come on the market.

Late last month the Labour Party released figures under the official information act from Housing New Zealand that indicated southern state housing stocks could be heavily slashed in the next 10 years.

The only exception was the Queenstown Lakes District, which figures predicted would need an additional 14 properties in 10 years.

The spokeswoman said there were no plans for further state housing in the district, but assessing the need for social housing was a fluid process and that could change.

The Southland Times