The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to a huge number of Kiwis returning to New Zealand. With a strong theme of ‘wanting to move closer to family’, this sudden influx of out of town interest is putting pressure on some already struggling rental property markets. Areas such as New Plymouth and Whanganui are experiencing an unprecedented demand for rental properties. Coupled with a housing shortage, organisations like Community Housing Action Taranaki are seeing increased demand. Chair, Brian Eriksen, discussed longer stays in the trust’s temporary houses which are usually used for about six weeks during a time of transition, “We've got people who've been in there for a long time. There's just nowhere for them to go.”
"We've got people sleeping in sheds or doubling up in their mum's place, in a little unit, with their family because they just can't find affordable housing."
Managing transitional housing for the Salvation Army in Whanganui, John Coffey described a similar situation. "The six families that we currently have in our housing units have been there on average 14 weeks, so it is extending that time out a little bit, but we are still managing to place them.
"It's not uncommon to go and have 40 people viewing on a day. It is making it difficult, I have to say that.”
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