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Update from the Community Housing Trust

Remarkables Park Apartments Ex View A 2

Update from the Community Housing Trust

In the past few months, I’ve fielded many enquiries as to whether the Trust’s waiting list has moved up or down post COVID-19. Interestingly, we saw the list remain stagnant for the lockdown period, before a sudden spike in registrations in June/July. With well over 600 eligible households now on the waiting list, demand for housing assistance continues to grow, despite the fact rents have dropped.

COVID-19 had a serious impact on many of our existing households, as well as those on the waiting list. Where required, we provided rent reductions for tenants, and ensured all our assisted-ownership households were able to access mortgage holidays if needed. Whilst the full impact of this pandemic remains unknown, we will continue to respond with nimbleness and flexibility to the situation that presents itself.

Many LWB readers will be aware QLCHT has a contract to purchase 50 one and two-bed Toru apartments at Remarkables Park, Frankton. I’m delighted to advise the finish line is in sight, with move-in dates scheduled for February 2021.

A significant amount of time has been spent obtaining alternative funding options for this project, which will enable us to provide a truly mixed tenure model throughout our 50 units. In July the Government confirmed a $6.365m interest-free loan to fund 25 Secure Home Toru properties. This financing is part of the first phase of a wider $400m Progressive Home Ownership fund the Government’s rolling out across the country to help more Kiwis into alternative forms of home ownership. In practice, it enables us to offer an affordable, secure tenure ownership option with an average purchase price of $220k for a 1-bed, and $320k for a 2-bed apartment. Households will then pay a below market ground rent for the “land” component of the property.

In addition to the Secure Home properties, we’ll also be assigning 15 into Public Housing (via a contract with the Crown), and retaining the remainder through a mixture of affordable rentals and our rent-to-buy programme (Rent Saver).

As at today we have 633 households on our waiting list, made up of 986 adults and 616 children. Around 50% of these households are singles, couples or small families, so potentially well-suited to apartment living. We will continue to provide housing for larger family units in our other developments throughout the District.

Julie Scott
Executive Officer
Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust