Elderly Poynter Pl residents fear their property values will plummet when seven new two-bedroom Housing New Zealand houses are built in their street.
"if you've worked hard all your life and invested $300,000 to $400,000 you don't want to lose perhaps $50,000 to $60,000 overnight," one man said.
Most had planned to spend the rest of their lives in the "immaculate" and "beautifully kept" extension of the Gonville street.
"Sure we need these houses, but not near us," neighbour Lindsay Stockbridge said.
Asked about the plight of the homeless, another man said most of them would have had the same opportunities as he and other residents to own property.
But fellow resident Nigel Irwin has a different opinion. He doesn't think property values will drop, and will welcome the new residents.
"The people that will live near us need our welcome. They don't need our suspicion or exclusion."
He believes the panic is unnecessary, and his fellows are unduly prejudiced.
Poynter Pl residents had a meeting with Housing New Zealand (HNZ) on Thursday, to hear about the seven new houses to be built on a large section at 12 Poynter Pl. They told HNZ they weren't happy, but got the feeling the houses would be built anyway.
They worry about increased traffic in the street, work being done outside usual working hours and a ghetto taking shape with social housing units close together.
Several said HNZ should have let them know about the development sooner, when they could have sold their houses and shifted.
HNZ was known for not managing its properties and one man predicted they would deteriorate. It also shouldn't have sold off state houses, and shouldn't leave them empty, he said.
Twenty state units will be built in Whanganui by June 2020, a HNZ spokesman said. As well as seven in Poynter Pl there are to be two built on back sections in Grey St this year.
Jennian Homes won the competitive tender to oversee building, and Devon Homes is to do the building.
HNZ has not been able to say how long it is since a new state house was built here, or say how much it costs to build one of the two-bedroom units.