The battle for a home

HOPEFUL: The Burke family, from left: Dallas, 5, Matt, Alycia and Pyper, 7, in their Devon St unit, Arrowtown.
HOPEFUL: The Burke family, from left: Dallas, 5, Matt, Alycia and Pyper, 7, in their Devon St unit, Arrowtown.

Mother-of-two Alycia Burke, her husband and two wee ones love Arrowtown but the young family are finding it hard getting on to the property ladder.

She and her husband Matt moved from Invercargill in 2012 to work and have two children at Arrowtown Primary School, Dallas, 5, and Pyper, 7. Matt works as a panelbeater and, at the moment, his wife is working up to four part-time jobs so she can make time to avoid paying for childcare.

The children absolutely love their school and could hardly wait to go back after the holidays when the Burkes spoke to the Mirror.

The family is on the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust waiting list of 250 households for help to get their first home and hope to get one of the trust's 10 planned Suffolk St properties next year.

The Burkes are typical of the growing number of young families who want to settle here but just cannot contend with the sky-high property prices.

Alycia says moving here is the hardest thing the family has done but they want to settle in the Wakatipu. At the moment she works at the primary school, a childcare job and two cleaning jobs.

"It's hard. We struggle to put petrol in the car sometimes. I could go and get a 40-hour a week job but then there's the cost of childcare. Last year was the hardest. I lost a job at Christmas."

Matt said he considered a panelbeater's wage as decent but between them the dream of owning a house is just that - a dream.

"I don't intend on going anywhere. I moved here for my job and we're going to make it work. We don't plan on going back to Invercargill."

The trust started work on its Suffolk St development last week clearing old cabins off the land before construction starts in August. Four houses in stage one are due for completion in February with the remaining six houses when the new Arrowtown sports centre is built.

Suffolk St properties will be rented at below-market rates to help people pay off debts and get on top of finances then they can consider the trust's shared ownership options.

The Mirror