Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

State houses in pricey suburbs empty and deteriorating

51 Norfolk St  in Ponsonby has sat empty for nearly a year. Photo / Dean Purcell
51 Norfolk St in Ponsonby has sat empty for nearly a year. Photo / Dean Purcell

State-owned houses in some of Auckland's most expensive suburbs have been left unoccupied and "deteriorating" for up to 18 months.

Neighbours of the derelict buildings contacted the Herald following our story about the country's most expensive state house, 38 Takitimu St in Orakei, which has sat empty since September, 2012.

The Crown said a sales deal was being negotiated but Housing Minister Nick Smith said it was "too slow" and had requested a report from staff following Herald queries.

In Ponsonby, where the average house value is just over $1.2 million, 51 Norfolk St has sat empty for nearly a year. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom 1910 weatherboard house has a land area of 303sq m.

Its 2011 capital valuation is $810,000.

Norfolk St resident Paul Patton said neighbours could not understand why the house was left unoccupied and uncared for.

Read more:
$1.3m state home still empty after 18 months
Affordable? Yes, if you can bid near a million

"It is a perfectly good home and no one seems to live in it," he said. "Why has Housing New Zealand got a house that is probably worth over $1 million just standing empty while there are so many people crying out for public housing?"

Mr Patton said the lawns were overgrown and a picket fence and gate had recently been removed leaving the property looking "pillaged".

Housing New Zealand Property Services general manager Marcus Bosch said the property was left in disarray by its previous tenant.

In Orakei, 29 Te Arawa St was also unoccupied. In a neighbourhood where the average house value is $1,162,300, the three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling with a land area of 953sq m has a capital value of $840,000. Housing NZ acting asset development general manager Leonie Freeman said the Te Arawa St house was under negotiation for sale.

Next story: A tale of two cities: $1m v $71k

- NZ Herald

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