Like other fast-growing cities, Hamilton continues to feel the effects of a housing shortage. In July the median house price was $590,000 and 280 sold. None, of course, sold under $300,000.
Compared to when I bought my first wee home 28 years ago, it is much harder for people to step into their first home and it is difficult to find rentals.
Both my mum and daughter moved houses last weekend. Several times, my daughter has faced the struggles of high-demand rentals and has grappled with the banks not keen on her $40,000+ student loan and fixed-term or casual employment. Nevertheless, we feel fortunate.
With my mum relocating to a pleasant retirement village, my daughter has bought her very basic but warm two-bedroom bungalow. My mum no longer needs to worry about maintaining her garden (or calling for the grandchildren to sweep the leaves) and my daughter is now on the property ladder. Being busy with the election campaign also meant I didn’t lift a single moving box this time!
My family is very lucky. Many Hamiltonians still face many struggles finding a home, whether it is a rental or an owned home. It is tougher still on those with fixed incomes, say a single salary due to family or part-time employment.
I recently spoke with a young woman who had been in emergency accommodation with an 8-year-old daughter for nearly two years, a motel room in Ulster Street. In that time she had been shown only two homes for consideration. We must urgently address today's supply gap to enable affordable, quality housing for all Hamiltonians.
I supported the $2M to go into a Community Lands Trust because we must play partner with other charities and housing providers to provide quality, lower-cost opportunities to get people on the property ladder.
But the problem is bigger than that and complex. Council cannot solve the housing crisis on its own but we do have a role to play.
We need to knock louder on the Government’s door. Yes, they lent us money, but the costs of responding to growth are huge. We need to go beyond talking about it and get the Government to deliver financial support and tools to better help high-growth Councils.
Also, we can’t ignore the concerns of our development community, because they are the investors and builders. Online consent processes, information and support have been identified as one useful way to make it easier. And we need to keep talking about the unresolved issues of costs of doing business.
Land price is a huge unresolved issue with sections selling for above $400,000. Unless we enable competition in the market, I’m uncertain how this can be resolved.
I believe we must be a strong voice in the housing conversation, alongside Government and our development community to provide for those who live here and those who will in the future.
It is a relief to see my own mum and daughter in healthy homes after a long search. I want this for all Hamiltonians.
Read my growth policy here.
Myself with my daughters and mum