Five years after the Canterbury earthquakes, Christchurch’s housing market is nearing recovery say social housing minister Paula Bennett and building and housing minister Dr Nick Smith.
“Housing has been one of the most complex and challenging problems arising from the Canterbury earthquakes with the loss of 10,500 homes,” the Ministers say.
“The Government has taken a step-by-step approach and officials project that by June 2017, the Christchurch housing market will be fully recovered with supply and demand back in balance.”
Among the Government’s housing initiatives since the Christchurch earthquakes was the establishment of the Residential Advisory Service, which has helped over 3,288 residential property owners progress their repair, rebuild, resettlement process; 27,000 emergency repairs on Housing New Zealand homes; and partnering with the Canterbury Community Trust to provide $31 million in grants for social and affordable housing in Canterbury.
About half of the 163 houses funded have now been built and the majority of the remaining half are expected to be completed by the end of September this year.
“The Government’s focus in terms of the private market is now on ensuring long-term quality housing for the reshaped, vibrant city of the future. That’s why we have partnered with Christchurch City Council and the private sector to deliver more than 1000 homes through developments at Awatea, Colombo and Welles Streets, as well as Riccarton Racecourse,” Dr Smith says.
“The strongest evidence of the successful recovery of Christchurch’s housing market is the latest data on rents and house prices. House prices rose by up to 13 per cent per year following the earthquakes but grew last year by 2.7 per cent, and are now back below the national average. Rents were growing at up to 16 per cent per year following the earthquakes but have been declining since October 2014 and in the past year, have dropped by six per cent.”
“Housing was one of the biggest post-quake challenges facing Christchurch, but a concerted effort by the community, building sector, council and Government has enabled us to recover as quickly as practically possible,” the Ministers say.
“With the completion of projects in the pipeline, Christchurch will have, by 2017, the safest and warmest stock of private, state and community housing in the country.”