Housing report

Tauranga housing report warns of people living in cars and garages in times of scarcity

Tauranga City Council Strategy, Finance and Risk Committee. Absent: Anne Tolley. Photo / Talia Parker

The housing shortage has been called Tauranga’s “biggest challenge” by city leaders grappling with a potential future of people forced to live in garages, cars or share rentals with other families.

Tauranga City Council’s strategy, finance and risk committee met on Monday and received a report assessing the potential economic impacts of housing capacity shortfalls.

The report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research found that the shortage is expected to reach between 7,092 and 8,993 too few houses in 10 years.

At the meeting, council town and infrastructure manager Andrew Mead said the report picked up on previous work, in particular a report presented in March 2020.

Mead said the housing shortage in Tauranga had “increased dramatically” since then. He said the current shortage was around 4,000 to 5,000 homes. Over the next 10 years, the report predicted that an additional 3,139 homes would be needed.

Mead said it was “a very large number” that could “manifest in many ways”, such as people living with their other families, relatives or living in garages or cars.

Mead said these were “sobering numbers”.

“In any scenario you look at, it looks really bad.

Report authors Ayv Greenway and Andy Mead.  Photo / Talia Parker
Report authors Ayv Greenway and Andy Mead. Photo / Talia Parker

“What we’re going to see are people not moving to Tauranga…[and going elsewhere] find suitable accommodation. »

Mead said government was “essential in addressing some of the challenges” as the council would need infrastructure and funding tools to unlock opportunities for growth.

In its report, the institute predicted that the housing shortage would prevent 14,951 people from living in Tauranga within 10 years. This translated into a cumulative GDP loss of $1.609 billion, which was expected to be felt primarily in the land use planning and housing sectors and ripple throughout the economy.

The median home price is expected to rise from $1 million to $1.612 million in 10 years, and weekly rent could rise from $620 to $998.

In June, a survey of 185 new builds listed for sale in Tauranga found an average asking price of $1.167 million.

Commissioner Stephen Selwood said the report was “sobering” and “supporting the urgency” for action to be taken to address the issue.

He said the report “clearly indicates the size and scale” of the housing supply problem and provides evidence that housing is “the biggest challenge we have” in Tauranga.

“Keeping to do what we are doing is not enough. We need a combined effort across all agencies.”

Tangata whenua representative Te Pio Kawe said “these numbers … are increased for our Maori communities”.

In the community of Maungatapu where he lived, “the ability to raise the $1.16 million in terms of buying a house is just beyond their reach.”

He said papakāinga housing (housing groups where whanau live together) was the only affordable option for them, but he said these lacked infrastructure and capital funding.

“[The] the situation of our Maori communities is much worse. »

Commissioner Shadrach Rolleston said the content of the report was “a huge issue facing our community”.

He said there were housing development projects in and around Matamata – “we are driving people into these communities. These impacts will be felt in our transportation network.”

He said there was a lack of alignment around some targets in central government, with an effort to reduce emissions and take care of biodiversity and water resources.

“All those [are] great, great things that we have to do – and we also have to provide housing.”

He said housing was “a huge challenge, and it’s something we all need to understand”.

“It’s not just a one-size-fits-all solution,” he said. “There are several things we need to do across the board,” including freeing up Maori land for development and building up.

“[It’s] a huge challenge, but I think we have to be ready for it. We have to face it and deal with it,” Rolleston said.

– Additional reporting by Kiri Gillespie