Tackling challenge of affordable housing

Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

Housing taskforce progress

The leasing of trust-held land and non-bank lending arrangements are just two options being considered to alleviate the affordable housing challenge in the Queenstown Lakes District.

The QLDC Housing Taskforce, established in April by the district’s Mayor Jim Boult to consider a new model of affordable housing for Queenstown, has reported progress four months on.

“We’re exploring a range of options  to help the community with the critical issue of access to affordable housing,” taskforce chairman and QLDC Councillor John MacDonald said.

“We’re looking into some really exciting and innovative options, which we believe will help key workers, families and even retirees into secure long-term affordable housing. I believe we’ve got the right people on the taskforce to make a difference to the district and am encouraged by progress so far.”

One option being considered is  an affordable ownership model of trust-held land being leased to the homeowner for a nominal rent. In this option only the housing unit is bought and sold into a controlled market where the increase in value is limited. This concept maintains long-term affordability and would be a first for Queenstown, and possibly for New Zealand. 

Another option the taskforce is exploring with a third party is non-bank lending arrangements through investors, whereby households are able to purchase property with lower deposits and share in any market increase after a set period of time. 

The taskforce is also considering ideas that would result in more land being made available for residential developments, and incentives which could assist in that.

Along with the current Proposed District Plan review and working with the Government’s Special Housing Area programme, the initiates are designed to bring more houses to the market, reduce supply pressure, and drive down cost.

QLDC Mayor Jim Boult said the cost of housing in the district remains his greatest concern. He described the initiatives under consideration by the taskforce as practical, realistic solutions.

“I am pleased to be part of another project, which like better public transport, has the opportunity to benefit people from all walks of life in our community. All of the options are being worked through by the taskforce, with considerable work to be done before any can be confirmed but progress is excellent.

“I am determined we will see solutions that make a real difference in housing provision for everyone from workers in our thriving tourism and construction industries, through to young families and retirees.”

The findings of the taskforce will be shared with Wanaka housing trust.

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