The sale of portable cabins is booming in New Zealand, where a housing crisis means hundreds of thousands of Kiwis can no longer afford a home or even a rental.
Soaring property prices in New Zealand’s largest cities and a slow pace of new builds has seen many low- and middle-income New Zealanders struggling to afford basic housing, with some forced to sleep in shipping containers, tent and cars.
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Transportable housing manufacturers say their businesses have quadrupled in the past few years, with many New Zealanders unable to see any viable solution to their housing woes other than the cramped, transportable homes, which can be shifted into the back or front yards of properties owned by family or friends.
Shane Savill, director of Dream Time Cabins, said people unable to afford traditional housing now make up the majority of his clients, and business had increased 40% each year since he started the company five years ago, spreading from Auckland to the regions.
“The housing crisis is fuelling the demand, people can’t afford their own home, but they can afford a reasonable amount of rent per week so they put a cabin on their mum and dad’s property,” Savill said.
“I believe the regions such as Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga are also now experiencing high demand.”
House Me national sales manager Bryce Glover told RNZ that his company’s production of transportable homes had quadrupled in the last three years, and while the housing crisis was the main driver, the trend for tiny homes was also contributing.
“There is no rule of thumb, we are dealing with all walks of life, and all different suburbs,” Glover told RNZ.
New Zealand house prices are among the most unaffordable in the world, with Auckland the seventh most expensive city to buy a home, and all three major cities considered “severely unaffordable” by the latest Demographia international housing affordability survey.
The Labour coalition government led by Jacinda Ardern were elected on promises to tackle the housing crisis, but the government’s flagship affordable housing scheme, Kiwibuild, has suffered numerous setbacks, and last month announced it would fall short of its target to build 1,000 affordable homes by June – and only manage around 300.
Kiwibuild aims to build 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years, and Ardern has defended the scheme, saying although the short-term targets have been scrapped, the long-term goal will be reached.
Alain Bertaud, a former World Bank principal urban planner, said despite New Zealand being an otherwise “exceptionally well-managed country”, its housing market was in a state of crisis. He said the government’s efforts were being closely watched because they were broadly following global best practice in improving housing affordability.
Source: The Guardian