Bay tenants face high rents

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The Bay of Plenty is second only to Auckland as New Zealand's least affordable location to rent a home.

A third of all household income for Bay tenants goes on rent and it is a statistic which has changed little in 14 years.

In a report released by Statistics NZ, Rental Affordability 1998-2012: Regional Distributions, average household incomes were compared with average rental costs to assess affordability across 12 regions.

Three regions were consistently unaffordable: Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Northland. Renters in these areas routinely spent more than 30 per cent of household income on rent. Bay of Plenty residents spent 33.2 per cent of income on rents in 2012.

Auckland was unaffordable because of high rents, the report stated, while low incomes affected affordability in Bay of Plenty and Northland.

Diane Bruin, Tauranga Budget Advisory service co-ordinator, said: "If people are living on their own, or have an extra room, then look at taking on a boarder. A great idea is for a group of people living on their own to share a three or four-bedroomed house.

"This includes newly retired people, people living on a pension and living on their own sharing a rental."

A search of Tauranga three-bedroom homes yesterday found 193 listed. The most expensive was $1111 per week for a luxury house in Papamoa and the cheapest a $265 per week Matua property. Bethlehem was the most expensive suburb with an average weekly rental of $400 for a three-bedroom home and Merivale the cheapest at $310 a week.

Neville Falconer, LJ Hooker property investment management group chairman, said Tauranga did not have the land supply issues of other regions and increased building activity could mean more properties coming on to the rental market.

Rachel O'Callahan moved to Tauranga from Christchurch in November with husband Glenn, and said rentals in Tauranga were better priced than Canterbury. They pay $295 a week for a two-bedroom renovated bach in Papamoa. "We would pay over $350 in Christchurch for the same property."

Respondents on the Bay of Plenty Times Facebook page yesterday ranged in their views.

Katikati resident Kata Pewhairangi paid $300 a week for a large four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, while single mum Kylie Avery said she took in a boarder to make ends meet.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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