Wellington Property Investors' Association

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07-09-2010

Rental market squeezed after quake

Landlords.co.nz

The Canterbury earthquake will put pressure on the city's residential rental sector, as the pool of available homes shrinks and home owners whose properties have been condemned look for short to medium-term accommodation.

By Maddy Milicich

"[The fallout from the earthquake] could create a big demand for rentals and sound housing," says Canterbury Property Investors Association (CPIA) president Kim Willems.

Martin Evans of A1 Property in Christchurch also says heightened demand will put a squeeze on the available rental stock.

A1 had 25 properties vacant prior to the earthquake and Evans says they will probably be snapped up quickly, once they have been safety checked.

Evans says his company is offering tenants the option of giving two days' notice to vacate for reasons such as trauma or the fact they don't feel safe, but doesn't think many will because most have indicated they want to keep the housing they're currently in.

The CPIA is working alongside Civil Defence to help house people whose properties have been destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake.

Willems sent out an email yesterday morning asking members of the association for a list of rental properties that were secure after the quake and when they were available. This will then be passed on to Civil Defence to help them with their housing efforts.

Willems says within the first hour she had half a dozen responses from investors, some with properties available immediately and some available in about a month's time.

"Even those properties available in a month will be perfect for some people who are happy staying with family or friends in the meantime, but at some stage will want their own space again," she says.

Willems says despite reports and images in the media, there are many properties that have only had superficial damage to them such as cracked walls, fences or chimneys and that the majority of houses are fine.

"There are pockets of badly affected areas, but lots of properties are unscathed or have minor damage," Willems says.

"Generally, most houses are okay."

Feedback from investors in Christchurch has not been huge at such an early stage, with many possibly dealing with their own homes that have been damaged in the quake and Willems says the main focus for many is dealing with safety issues and making sure tenants are ok.

"It's very much a wait-and-see type of situation, but people are dealing with urgent issues first."

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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