No room for renters in Wanaka

01:30, Dec 18 2013
Southland Times photo
Housesmart senior property manager Colleen Topping holds a for rent sign, which isn't getting much use in Wanaka, with reports there is a squeeze on rental accommodation leading up to Christmas.

Wanaka's summer population is said to be booming with realtors unable to keep up with the demand of people wanting to rent a house, putting a squeeze on housing availability.

According to figures from property management specialists Housemart, the demand for rental properties in Wanaka has increased by 30 per cent during the past two months compared with the same period in 2011 and 2012.

Three times as many properties were rented in October this year compared with the same month last year.

Housemart senior property manager Colleen Topping, who has

worked for the company in Wanaka for nine years, said it was the busiest lead up to summer she had seen in that time.

The vacancy time between tenants had decreased dramatically, with the majority of houses only vacant for about two days.


"It seems to be a combination of not much available and a much bigger increase in demand," Mrs Topping said.

It was mainly New Zealanders wanting to find homes to rent.

Some of the growth could be put down to those looking to move to Northlake, a rural residential development, selling their houses and looking for a rental in the meantime, more New Zealanders wanting to move to Wanaka and ex-pats returning to New Zealand and choosing Wanaka as their next destination to live.

The demand for new houses was also playing its part with builders taking on more staff and the staff needed somewhere to live.

"All this is putting pressure on everything. It's good for the town. It's increasing activity," Mrs Topping said.

"It's a good time to buy an investment property because it's a good time to find a tenant," she said.

Wanaka Chamber of Commerce chairman Alistair King said major events, such as the New Year's Rhythm and Alps festival, Challenge Wanaka and Warbirds over Wanaka, were also attracting more tourism to the town.

"We certainly are getting the feeling town is picking up and more buoyant," Mr King said.

The town profile was getting bigger and Wanaka needed to capitalise on tourism and make sure they looked after tourists who could go on to tell their friends about Wanaka, he said.

Edgewater Resort general manager Leigh Stock said January and February bookings were looking to be the strongest they had been in several years.

"My suspicion is we are going to have a stronger final quarter than before," Mr Stock said.

Mr Stock said he believed tourism was "starting to rebound" from seven years of turmoil because of terrorism and the global financial market and emerging markets such as South East Asia were impacting the amount of tourists visiting.


The Mirror