Wednesday April 5, 2017
House prices up, land availability down, more houses needed By Dave Crampton
Is your house valued at $500,000? It is not unusual for a Wainuiomata home to be advertised for more than $500,000. This week several are on the market for more than that. Wainuiomata has often been seen as having less expensive housing than many other parts of the Hutt Valley, but there is a big demand for property in the Hutt region due to a land shortage – which has led to increased prices in Wainuiomata.
Hutt South Labour candidate Virginia Andersen said affordable housing in the Hutt used to attract families to settle here and raise kids, but that is now changing. Last month she cohosted a well- attended meeting in Petone on housing. She said there were sections of vacant land across the Hutt Valley that previously had houses on it, and that is driving prices up - including in Wainuiomata. “What worries me the most is that people have lost the hope that they can get ahead. For many families, no matter how
hard someone works, owning a home is just not possible.” Wainuiomata ward councillor Campbell Barry said sometimes living in a home is not possible. He cites people who are living in cars or with family after they are unable to pay rent and are forced to leave their accommodation. “I would certainly say that (is the case) in Wanuiomata - just like the rest of the Hutt. We are bordering on becoming unaffordable as well. Some of the rental costs are going through the roof – for some people it really is a crisis.”
It was standing room only at a recent housing meeting co-hosted by Labour’s Virginia Andersen.
One issue is that some are too rich for social housing from the Ministry of Social Development, but too poor to afford rents. “It’s a massive problem - people are living out of cars, and hot-bedding,” Mrs Andersen said. Residential property values have been increasing more rapidly than business property values and this is reflected in rates increases. While the average ratepayer increase for the 2017-2018 year is forecast to be 2.3 percent, residential rates increase are expected to average 5.1 per cent. The average increase is less than the 2.6 percent increase in the 20162017 Annual Plan approved last year, and is expected to be one of the lowest average rates increases in the Wellington region. Last week Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said Wellington’s average rates will increase 3.3 percent, down from a forecast of 5.1 percent, and that the Wellington council will provide social housing. Mrs Andersen wants the Hutt Council to follow suit. “I’d like them to do what Wellington has done in terms of providing social housing – there’s a clear demand for it.”
Free parking trial ends The one hour free parking trial in central Lower Hutt came to an end on Sunday and parking is now $1.50 per hour. The trial had been in place in the central city since January last year. For the first half of April parking wardens will provide a reminder to people that may
be unaware of the change. Hutt City Council consulted on the one hour-free parking as part of the Annual Plan consultation last year. It was decided the cost of making the trial permanent was too high, as lost revenue through parking charges was estimated at more than $900,000
per annum. If this cost was passed to ratepayers it would have added about $17 to the average residential ratepayer bill each year. Data collected for the first ten months of the trial also did not demonstrate that one hour-free parking was an effective strategy to stimulate
retail spend in the central city. Council confirmed in December 2016 the trial would end in early April 2017. Hutt City Council is currently undertaking a citywide parking review. The findings of this review will be presented to Council later in 2017.
GIVEAWAY To win a family pass for the match, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the answer to this question: Which two football club teammates captained their countries last week in Wellington?
Grave Concern This week is Cemeteries Week. On Thursday April 6 there will be a public talk, ‘Dead End Job’, from 10 – 11am at the Petone Library and all are welcome with any questions they have about the end of life planning, cemeteries and plot maintenance. A trend nowadays is people wanting to organise their own or their loved ones funeral. They want more of a say in the service, choice of coffin and other details and these should be raised with the provider they choose for the funeral. Many people also do not know councils are only responsible for general maintenance at cemeteries, while the maintenance of covered plots and headstones is the responsibility of living descendants.
Lucky ticket Did you buy a lotto ticket in Alicetown last week? If so you could be in the money. A ticket worth $2,024,394 was sold at Masala’s Superette and Lotto store in Alicetown last week, one of four that split the weekend’s $8million Powerball jackpot. The jackpot rolled down to division two as there was no first division Powerball winners. However, it has yet to be claimed. Masala’s Superette has had a good run with lotto wins, with ticket sales collecting more than $10 in prizes after co-owner Bhavish Patel became a Lotto operator five years ago. The other three tickets we sold in Methven, Clive and Waiheke Island.