The Aung family with me outside the Hamilton home that rise 42% in value over 7 months, making it unaffordable for them.
The Aung family have beaten the odds.
As a refugee family from Myanmar, they have worked hard over the last four years to build a settled future for their three daughters in Hamilton.
Mr Aung works long hours as a sheet metal worker, Mrs Aung works evenings as a cleaner and the girls are doing well at local schools. They have all learned English and are loved by their neighbours.
The New Zealand Government has supported them too. A modest 3-bedroom state house has been their home for four years.
Last year, Housing New Zealand wrote to them saying their home was “surplus to requirements” and offering them the opportunity to buy it.
Hang on a minute! Doesn’t Paula Bennett maintain that they are only selling houses that are the wrong size, in the wrong place where people need to be housed?
This house is perfect for the Aung’s to rent from Housing NZ, so how come it is “surplus.”? It’s in a nice area of Hamilton and I see a needy family every week who would love to rent that house.
Anyway, the Aungs were excited by the idea of being able to buy their home which was valued at $315,000 in November 2015.
It would be tough, but they could afford it if Mr Aung could access his KiwiSaver account to help with the deposit. He would have to wait a few months to become eligible to do this.
When they went back to Housing NZ in July to start discussions on the purchase, this modest house had increased in value by a massive 42% to be worth $450,000 even though no improvements had been made to it.
This put it completely outside of their reach.
National’s wilful inaction on the housing crisis has crushed their dream.
Now here’s the stinger – the house is still considered by Housing NZ to be “surplus” even though there is a family living in it. The family fears their home will be sold to a property speculator and they will be left out in the cold.
And they have reason to be fearful. Coincidentally (yeah, right) MSD have recently conducted a tenancy review to see if the family is still eligible for social housing.
Even though they were both employed on the minimum wage and they have 3 daughters to support and pay market rent to Housing NZ – they face eviction from their home.
This looks to me to be the sneaky way that National is once again flogging our state housing stock off to private investors.
It’s more cunning than it was back in the 90’s, but the result is still the same. State houses built by taxpayers to house the needy, get sold to the greedy for profit.
Rust never sleeps.