Build-to-rent scheme is "not a silver bullet" for housing issues

by Roxanne Libatique12 Sep 2019

Massey University property specialists have warned that the build-to-rent scheme is “not a silver bullet” for the country’s housing issues.

Professor Graham Squires, head of the Massey Business School property programme, and David White, author of Massey University’s Home Affordability Report, pointed out that a complex issue like housing affordability would never have a single solution, so the government should cautiously encourage build-to-rent as part of a wider set of initiatives to fix the country’s housing issues.

"There are questions about tenure and quality in the private rental market, and while we have seen new regulations in this space, more work needs to be done to ensure commercial developers are able and willing to provide quality rental accommodation. We certainly don't want a slum landlord approach,” Squires said.

Read more: Government urged to back build-to-rent scheme to address housing crisis

Some Kiwis were also concerned that large-scale rental housing might not be managed properly and therefore lead to awful buildings and concentrations of social pathology, while others thought that the government should encourage people to own homes instead of just rent.

"To my mind there is a changing demographic going on here. There is not a lot of downside to build-to-rent if it is done well, and also if it is not done as the only solution,” White said.

"You have to continue to look for home ownership options for those who aspire to it. And we need to look for different forms of rental accommodation as well."

White emphasised the importance of providing secure tenancies if the build-to-rent scheme was to be positive in the country.

Developing high-quality build-to-rent apartments would also be a huge advantage as a lot of rental properties in the country were of inferior quality and therefore unattractive to renters.

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