Finding rental housing in Mataura is becoming a problem, the town’s community development co-ordinator says.
Eleanor Ranstead made the comments in relation to a new report on housing compiled by The Salvation Army.
“In Mataura there is a real lack of rental properties,” Mrs Ranstead said.
There were more people buying properties in Mataura, either to live in themselves or to refurbish and sell on, she said.
A lot of the people buying properties were from outside the town and some were choosing to move to Mataura.
In some cases, tenants had to move out of rental home as they had been sold.
“A lot of these people I have connections with actually have to move out of the area,” as there were not enough rental properties on offer, she said.
When people bought a property to refurbish, the updated property was not necessarily bought by a landlord.
The lack of rental options was also pushing up house prices.
New regulations requiring landlords to improve rental properties to new standards also had an effect on the number of rentals available, she said.
Some landlords were choosing to sell rental properties.
Mrs Ranstead said not everybody was in an position to buy their own homes, so affordable rentals were essential.
Gore Salvation Army Corps captain Karl Saunders said while the organisation was not aware of a specific need in Gore, there were people in the community on low and middle incomes who faced a lifetime of renting if the situation did not change.
“As the report shows, rents are likely to go up, and things will get tougher for renters if changes aren’t made,” he said.
“If this happens, we could see more people in this area being forced to come to us for help with the basics of life.
“Kiwibuy [see story below] would give a chance for middle-income Southlanders to have a fair shot at owning a home.”