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Christchurch housing on track for full recovery

The Government’s wide-ranging support for Christchurch has ensured the city’s housing market is nearing recovery five years on from the Canterbury earthquakes, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett and Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith said today.

“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.”

The Government’s housing initiatives in Christchurch since the earthquakes include:

  • Establishment of the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service (CETAS), which has helped nearly 6500 households find temporary accommodation;
  • Temporary accommodation financial assistance of over $55 million to over 3200 households;
  • Set up the Residential Advisory Service, which has helped over 3,288 residential property owners progress their repair, rebuild, resettlement process;
  • Provision of 124 temporary accommodation units at Linwood Park (42), Kaiapoi Domain (22), Rawhiti Domain (20) and Rangers Park (40), which have housed over 1010 households;
  • Provision of 37 worker accommodation units to a private provider for use in a worker accommodation village in Riccarton;
  • 27,000 emergency repairs on Housing New Zealand homes and its Repair 5000 programme, which was completed a month ahead of schedule in November 2015;
  • Partnership 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 2016;
  • Crown Manager intervention in Christchurch City Council’s building consent services;
  • Government support of AMI Insurance; and
  • Partnered with the council in developing the Christchurch Replacement District Plan.

“As some of the most vulnerable residents, social housing tenants were particularly hard hit by the earthquakes. Housing New Zealand’s effort fixing its houses was staggering, spending $350 million repairing over 5,100 properties,” says Mrs Bennett.

“On any given day, the rebuild and repair programme saw as many as 1000 workers and $1 million per day being spent fixing tenants’ homes.

“I’m proud of how hard the staff and contractors worked, and the constant focus they placed on taking care of the affected tenants and their particular needs.”  

“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.”

Tags: christchurch recovery