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Twenty-five percent of renters in the Queenstown Lakes district are dissatisfied with the warmth and dryness of their current housing, a new study has found.
The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust surveyed more than 500 renters across the district.
"We found it pretty sobering," executive officer Julie Scott said.
"Particularly around the fact that a lot of people, a quarter of respondents, did not have the ability to adequately heat their homes due to the cost of housing and poor insulation."
"That’s quite a worrying and concerning statistic when you think about it."
Eighty-nine percent of renters in the Queenstown Lakes district see affordability as a long-term barrier to their commitment to the region — a fact which was consistent with earlier surveys, Ms Scott said.
"Anecdotally, people say, ‘Look, I love Queenstown, I love Wanaka, I love this district but if I can’t afford to get into some form of home ownership then I don’t see the point of staying here’."
This fits with traditional Kiwi mentalities concerning home ownership.
"Kiwis, and not just Kiwis ... do have a real drive towards home ownership. It’s in our nature and it’s the way we’ve been in New Zealand for a long time."
The survey, which was carried out in June although results were released this week, also had a number of questions in relation to how people were affected by Covid-19.
It found 43% had benefited from a short-term rent reduction, 29% long-term, and 28% not at all.
Ms Scott said a positive finding of the survey was a greater preference for smaller properties — 39% indicated they would like a three bedroom property, while 51% said they would like something smaller.
"We thought that’s really positive — there’s a growing sort of acceptance of moving away from that old traditional Kiwi model of a quarter-acre section and a stand-alone home."
Happiness House manager Robyn Francis, a key social agency leader in the resort, said the findings were not at all surprising.
"Rental rates are still too high and not sustainable in the long term."
Many in Queenstown were on hourly rates and well below the living wage, she said.
"This means that although people love living here, they can’t stay long. The cost of living in the Wakatipu leaves very little, in most pay packets, to support long-term plans."
The 25% dissatisfied with the warmth and dryness of their housing was much too high.
"That suggests one in four rental homes may not meet the Healthy Homes standards.
"We have certainly heard horrible stories of overcrowding in houses that are not properly insulated, have insufficient heating and facilities for the occupants.
"The overcrowding will continue to be an issue while rental rates are high and unemployment continues to rise due to Covid-19."