Renting in Auckland ... Eek!

Renting in Auckland: Experts warn it could get worse in 2020

Study says rents in most cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners

A new analysis suggests a minimum-wage worker could afford to rent in just a few neighbourhoods in Canada. The report defines "affordable" rent as 30 per cent or less of a renter's pre-tax income. Someone earning minimum wage would only be able to...

Auckland renters are sharing beds with flatmates or sharing rooms with five other adults to cut costs – and experts warn it's unlikely to improve in 2020.

In fact, economist Shamubeel Eaqub said young people in particular would probably be living in even more cramped conditions as housing costs continued to rise in proportion to incomes

"It's pretty s...," he said.

"It's not going to get better anytime soon. We're still not building enough houses. It's going to take it many decades to get on top of the housing crisis."

This year, Aucklanders' struggling to afford rent resorted to sharing bunk beds with flatmatessleeping on mattresses on the floor and paying $100 to sleep in someone's living area.

Aucklanders are sharing bunk beds with flatmates to save on rental costs.
TRADE ME/SUPPLIED
Aucklanders are sharing bunk beds with flatmates to save on rental costs.

A tiny "apartment" for rent for $360 per week, marketed as being suitable for up to two people, was later found to be too small to house even a single tenant.

Eaqub said in Queenstown, low-wage workers were turning to even more extreme measures, such as hot bedding.

"Everyone needs shelter. You live where you can afford to live."

New Zealand Centre of Sustainable Cities director Philippa Howden-Chapman compared solving the housing crisis to losing weight – "there's not a simple solution to it".

She said sharing beds with flatmates was a "totally inappropriate" option for adults and resembled the conditions of Victorian-era New York.

"It's very sub-statisfactory. We've moved on from that."

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub predicts overcrowding in Auckland flats will get worse.
SUPPLIED
Economist Shamubeel Eaqub predicts overcrowding in Auckland flats will get worse.

While there was no silver bullet, raising benefits and the minimum wage could help, Howden-Chapman said.

The latest census data showed the poorest fifth of households were spending about half their incomes on housing costs.

According to TradeMe Property, the median weekly rent in Auckland in November 2019 was $560. The latest data from Statistics New Zealand put the median weekly income at $1019.

A group of eight men was seeking women to share this flat furnished with bunk beds with them in September.
TRADE ME
A group of eight men was seeking women to share this flat furnished with bunk beds with them in September.

James Crow, founder of advocacy group Gimme Shelter Aotearoa, said living in flats where tenants shared bunk beds or similar situations worked for some people.

But those who were dealing with other health or social issues could be "preyed upon" by the landlords or tenants renting or subletting that type of accommodation.

"It's a problem that I don't think we should be seeing people trying to solve this way but it's a reality," he said.

"Until we have enough suitable affordable housing in Auckland we're going to see more of these, let's be honest, innovative ideas where people are trying to solve it the best they can."

 

To watch the videos with this article copy this link to your browser  https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/117990184/renting-in-auckland-experts-warn-it-could-get-worse-in-2020 

and for more articles by Brittany  brittany.keogh@stuff.co.nz