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Watch NZH Local Focus: Raglan housing shortage forces locals into tents

By Hunter Calder

Made with funding from NZ On Air

Diana Paekau and her family had only been living at their Raglan home for six months, when they were forced to move out because the owners sold the property.

She and four-year-old son Alderton are now making a tent their home for the summer because there is a shortage of rentals in the seaside town.

"I put my name down at the rentals, down at Ray White, but so did 30 other people looking at other houses. I wasn't really confident about getting a place because I knew there were so many other people needing a place," Diana Paekau says.

Ms Paekau hopes she'll be able to find something before winter, but she admits she's "scared to go get another rental because, I just don't know how long it's going to last for".

Mark Thompson shares the campground with Ms Paekau. He says he's "between a rock and a hard place" which is unsettling for Raglan residents like him who live in the area permanently.

"They decide to rent the houses out during the winter and then kick you out for the summer and put the prices up for people to move in during the holidays and then they go out and then you can go back in, apparently."

Mr Thompson says that's not the way to live, and many people are in a similar situation to him including a lady "with five little tikes", who stayed in a different camping ground before she had to move on.

Mr Thompson says he gets the feeling that some rental agencies "judge a book by its cover" and if you don't "look like a wealthy person, you're probably not going to get too much."

However, Ray White agent Julie Hanna says prospective tenants need to "make sure they've got their ducks in a row" which can help when applying for properties.

Mrs Hanna agrees availability isn't strong but people applying for homes need clean credit checks and good references from previous landlords. "That immediately puts them to the top of the list", she says.

Ms Paekau says there are a number of homes sitting empty for a lot of the year, which could be rented out to people like her with children who need a safe and secure warm home.

She says she sometimes gets upset seeing empty homes around the town.

"I don't know whether they realise the situation, that the locals have nowhere to rent. I just wish that some of these people in these empty homes would be happy to let their houses out just for the time they're not in their house."

Raglan property Manager Russ Adams says the number of people living in Raglan has risen over the years and that's put pressure on housing stock.

"I've heard of locals blaming the short stay market for the lack of houses but I disagree, there's always been lots of short stay places, it's a beach town," Mr Adams says.

In the last year, the median house price in Raglan rose more than $100,000 to around $550,000.

Mr Thompson reckons a lot of the housing stock is going to transient people that come from abroad or other parts of the New Zealand, that flock to Raglan over holiday periods.

"Since Auckland's been expensive all the people seem to be moving this way looking for housing so therefore it's shutting us locals down on housing "

LJ Hooker sales agent Kyle Leuhart says the development of 500 sections on Rangitahi Peninsula could free up some existing housing stock which could be rented out to those in need.

- NZ Herald

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