NORTHCOTE: What would you consider the housing situation in Northcote to be?

Anne-Elise Smithson, Greens

I would describe the housing situation in Northcote/Kaipatiki as very open to house speculators. In other words, it only benefits a very small percentage of people.

In October last year there was a news report about a do-up in Northcote that had a capital value of $760,000 just three years ago. But fierce competition and a booming housing market saw it sell for nearly double that.

You shouldn’t need to be a millionaire to own a home.

We need some practical ideas to address the rising housing prices that will take the pressure of inflation and interest rates. It would be good to see restrictions on offshore investors buying up housing, and to see a government-led programme of affordable house building, as well as an introduction of Progressive Ownership for first home buyers, to stabilise house prices.

On the renting side, one thing in particular that would help residents, is a modernising of tenancy rules to reflect the increased numbers of New Zealanders who rent. This could be done by giving good renters an automatic right of renewal and restricting price gauging through limitations on rent increases

Damian Light, United Future

I came to live in Beach Haven because of Auckland’s housing situation – it’s pretty much the only place we could afford that appealed to what we wanted and I’m so glad we ended up here!

The issue of housing always comes down to supply vs demand and the ability of those wanting to buy. There are some limits, but we need to make it easier for houses to be built (where and how we want them). We need to consider people with disabilities when we do this – not just for people who live there, but so those with disabilities can visit their friends. We can do this by improving the RMA but not by destroying it, streamlining the processes to make them more efficient but not opening up our environment to unsustainable developments. We also need to do more to enable people to buy – when we were looking, we had to save our deposit while continuing to pay rent plus spending money on building inspections and legal fees. Improving access to schemes like rent to buy are critical, especially for those on lower incomes or with dependants.

Not everyone can afford to own, so we need to also focus on improving on improving the quality of our rentals. I understand that the owners are wanting to make a profit, but let’s also make sure the tenants are looked after. Things like insulation grants are a good way of partnering up with property owners to make their investments worth more while improving the lives of their tenants.

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