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Although new houses were being built in the area, similar to 2020, participants felt that in Kakahi it was somewhat difficult due to various administrative and bureaucratic hurdles which had historical origins.

"If I think about it, there were no new houses built in donkeys’ years, then in the last three years there's been four, or three new houses come up. So, for Kakahi that's been a bit of a change. So, I think that's just the hoops you do have to go through, it's not unusual, probably harder in some places than others."
"From what I hear, it’s hard to jump through the hoops to build a new house around here. You need resource consent, and the hoops you must jump through to get a building certificate around here. Especially for a place that’s so high, so high above the high tide mark that it’s never going to be flooded out. It's stable ground. Yeah. There's one reason. I’ve heard horror stories of people in this area dealing with the bureaucracy."
"We had a meeting here with council a lot of years ago and they put the regulations in, made them harder at that stage about developing the town into a residential area because if it went too much further, they'd have to put the infrastructure in like sewerage and things like that. That's what a lot of the red tape comes from."
"There's lot of cabins, tiny homes. Yeah, there is a few of those come up as well."
"I was starting to wonder if we weren't going to turn into a shanty town though because of the... They're getting bigger and bigger."

Although there were not a lot of houses available for sale, from time to time they did become available, though were considered increasingly unfordable for many:

"We were just lucky, I think, the market was started to go crazy, and we got lucky with our place. I wouldn’t like to be buying a house now. We were first time buyers and that was really difficult to jump through hoops. Since then, the market, the price, what you can get for your money, the quality... the house that we got did need a lot of work which we couldn't have done without our family. But now, I think for the money, for first home buyers just trying to get the funds together is really hard now. My mother-in-law is looking at moving, she wants to move close to us. She is looking at Tūrangi but the price of them... yeah. She couldn't."
"What is scary is that we want to attract families to come back here but it is unaffordable for them. It's hard enough for working couples. It's a big barrier. But how can Council help? Cut the red tape. Even if you can just buy land, you've got to pay rates. You build a house? Pay consents. That stuff. It all mounts up. "

Although sections around Kakahi were available for sale, they were considered expensive and becoming more unaffordable over time:

"A quarter acre even a couple of years ago was going for a stupid price. Should have brought it then because it's probably gone up again."

Participants felt that housing unaffordability was confounded by high rates bills and rates increases:

"Then there's the rates. Kakahi has the highest rates in the area, highest increase too. It was huge. It's crazy we pay so much rates when we've got our own water. We don't get a sewer system; they don't do our roads up as much."
"Our rates cripple us, and we've got our own water, our own septic system, we're a young family and me and my partner are both working but we just cover the bills each week. And now that the rates have gone up and it's like, Ugh!"

Rental housing was considered, for the most part, not available.

"No, there’s no rentals. They’re all privately owned, occupied. There are a few that are holiday homes."
"There’s three or four Airbnb’s"

Demand for housing was driven by people who already had connections to the area through whānau, but also out-of-towners coming to Kakahi.

"People are moving back or building their holiday homes here and living in the cities and coming back here in the holidays or weekends. People who have connections to the areas and some that don’t."
"The King Country is turning into a retirement village. A great big retirement village. People are selling up in the cities and coming down here and getting more than what they had up there."
"We are quite happy back here. We moved back home, reconnecting with the whānau, spending more time at the marae with different things. We are quite happy. "
"I live here because my grandchildren are tangata whenua. They had lost their roots. So this is my chance to give them somewhere to whakapapa back to. I have that in my mind and in my heart living in Kakahi."

Empty houses were not a big problem in the area, with only two noted, one of which was empty due to renovations being undertaken.

As in 2020, some residents noted that while many houses had been upgraded to healthy homes standards, they also noted that much of the housing stock was old and cold, but solid, having been built from local native timber. Many houses remained below standard:

"These houses date back to the mill days. They're made out of native. But single glazing, really it needs to be triple, and the insulation often isn't there. What happens here is the older housing stock and therefore we have got whānau that there might be five kids in a three-bedroom home and that's pretty standard."
"Maybe that’s why we don’t have many rentals, because the cost to bring the houses up to rental standard is just completely out of the ballpark for most people to, you know. Maybe that's why we don't have the rentals, that's probably one of the reasons we don't have rentals down here."
"I tell everybody about funding for this area, like we got the insulation for the house, the floor and the ceiling, it made a huge difference. My little boy he got sick, he got RSV and we had to go to Waikato, and the kaitiaki there arranged a visit to come to our house and we got ceiling to floor curtains and they give you the tips like for bubble wrap on your bathroom windows to help, because we can't afford double glazing. So, I tell everyone, this whole area qualifies for that. We got a 100% subsidy for the insulation and curtains and then because the house didn't have any heating, except for an unusable fireplace, we got a grant for a fireplace, and we had to pay so much of that. It made a huge difference."
"There are a lot of families living in cold houses. Cold, damp housing. It’s really cold in Kakahi. Dusty too, the roads are really dusty, so the dust gets into everything."

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