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Housing crisis still reality for Tauranga as prices soar away from incomes

A housing crisis looms in Tauranga with house prices soaring 464 per cent in over the last 16 years while household income increased just 129 per cent a new report revealed.

The Housing Demand and Need research report, commissioned by SmartGrowth Partnership, suggest it will only become harder for people to own and rent a home in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty region unless action is taken now.

The report also predicts over the next 30 years the amount renters over 65 years old will increase by 222 per cent as people become locked out of home ownership.

"Nearly 90 per cent of renters cannot affordably purchase a home priced at $500,000 and the median home price in March 2017 was $620,000 in Tauranga and $550,000 in the Western Bay of Plenty," the report read.

"The rate of home ownership will continue to decline to 58.1 per cent for the Western Bay of Plenty and 54.6 per cent in Tauranga City by 2047."

The recommendations given in the report include ensuring all levels of a new development are affordable to residents and have mandatory restrictions on the price of new homes to keep them affordable.

Supporting shared ownership proposals, community housing trusts and student accommodation provision could lessen the demand on housing.

A review of the 50-day occupancy limit for caravan parks is suggested to allow seasonal workers longer stay times in temporary housing.

SmartGrowth independent chair Bill Wasley said the new data provided a fine-grained understanding of short and long-term housing trends and possible responses.

"It puts the numbers behind an issue that is the biggest future challenge we have in the Bay – how do we supply not only the right number of homes but also the right types of homes people need now and in the future, at a range of price points whether renting or owning," he said.

"This report predicts a stressful picture of our future unless we act together with others in the housing space."

"We need to crack this hard nut of giving a growing community like ours a choice of housing including smaller and more affordable housing for renting and owning. Councils certainly can't do this alone – and neither do we think the market will deliver."

Wasley hopes the new Labour government, who made election promises of getting more people into homes, will assist to prevent the housing crisis becoming worse.

"We hope the Government will help us to fund and pilot new kinds of housing models involving central government working with housing trusts, councils, iwi, community housing providers and developers," Wasley said.

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