Record rents highest in NZ


If you’re looking to live in Queenstown, you might want to brace yourself – the resort is now the most expensive place to rent in the country.

It comes as the waitlist for housing help in the resort skyrockets, with the head of the area’s housing trust warning the situation may get worse.

Figures compiled by business website show Queenstown Lake’s average weekly rent’s hit a record, and eye-watering, $616 a week – the only place in NZ to break the $600 mark.

That’s more than the entire take-home pay for someone earning minimum wage.

It’s also more than the average Auckland rent over the same period, which was $538.

The figures don’t come as a surprise to Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust boss Julie Scott.

“That’s reflecting what we’re seeing on the ground.”

The average rent’s risen 6.3 per cent from the September quarter last year, to the same time this year.

It’s up 15.4 per cent on the same time two years ago.

Scott says: “We obviously had this goal of getting 1000 households into affordable housing in the next 10 years.

“We’re starting to question whether that’s actually going to be enough, given the scale of the problem and the phenom-enal increase.”

She says the trust’s waitlist is currently 562 households needing some form of housing help – 80 per cent from Queenstown and 20 per cent from Wanaka.

That’s a 16 per cent increase from last November, when the waitlist was at 483.

There’s “absolutely” a concern it’s going to get worse, Scott says.

District councillor John MacDonald, who chaired the Mayoral Housing Affordability Taskforce, reckons a decent amount of new affordable housing stock is still two to three years away.

“The game changer we need to really make an impact in the meantime isn’t available to us.

“It’s a vicious cycle.”

He says the “harsh reality” is that there’s no immediate fix to the district’s housing woes.

“We live in hope the old high school site might be put into housing.”