‘Depressed’ by lack of affordable houses in city

An Invercargill doctor told councillors he was "extremely depressed" by the lack of affordable houses in the city.

Dr Marcin Lipsk made a public submission at the Invercargill City Council’s infrastructural services committee meeting on Wednesday.

He told councillors he felt it was impossible, as a young person, to buy property given there was no support "in the whole system" to create other types of solutions such as tiny or modular houses.

The entry cost for a house was between $500,000 and $600,000 and the Government’s recently announced financial assistance for first-home buyers would not change the situation as manypeople would still be unable to afford a house, Dr Lipsk said.

He believed there was a need to explore other models.

"Those houses exist — those houses are tiny houses, kit houses, modular houses. They all exist — yet the banks are not going to mortgage it ... yet the council does not even allow me, for example, to build a garage and living in a garage sleepout," Dr Lipsk said.

Cr Darren Ludlow requested clarification from council customer and environment general manager Darren Edwards, saying he was pretty sure there was nothing in the district plan which prevented tiny houses from being constructed.

Mr Edwards said the council had a duty to ensure government building standards and regulations were adhered to.

However, Invercargill was "very progressive" in its approach with the district plan.

"We are more than happy to work with any willing homeowner who wants to explore which opportunities are out there for them," Mr Edwards said.

Cr Nigel Skelt said it was concerning to hear how depressing the situation was for a young person .

He told Dr Lipsk the council would look into the matter and see if it was a how the younger population felt as a whole and if there was anything the council could do about it.

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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