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Housing availability to rent in Raetihi was considered low, and increasingly unaffordable.

"There's nothing to rent, especially for the young ones. Trying to get a house and being young is hard. It's illegal to rent them (houses that do not meet rental standards) but people need those houses so people go for them."
"It's a struggle. The school has houses, a lot are going through renovations. And they wanted to keep people out while they were doing the renovations but they don't have that choice because teachers don't have anywhere to live. You just struggle through it, because there's no houses to rent. I'm not sure I know of any in Raetihi itself. Oh, there's one. One."
"So I moved here ten or eleven years ago and my rent was $150. I think you're looking at close to $400 now. When I found out I had a heart attack! I wouldn't be able to afford it now. "

According to participants, many of the houses for sale or rent were of poor quality, and were cold and damp:

"The houses are freezing cold. Sometimes they leak. Sometimes they're just standing up by sheer magic."
"There's quite a few houses which are not in great condition, so that's an issue. I know in Ohakune they've had warm your home, various projects, and I'm not sure if we've had the same access there. I think it might have been via the lines company. And because we're in a different power area, ah, so yes, there would be homes that would not be, would not be good. And then there's nowhere near as new houses as in Ohakune for instance."
"The housing level is like, there's not many that are insulated. Not many know about the healthy homes. We got it for our house. But if you get it for one thing then you can't get it for another thing. There's a thing, I think it's called Energy Smart to get insulation, but in the end it was just too hard and in the end we couldn't get it because of the different things you have to apply for. We just couldn't get it. But we did get a fire out of it. But yeah, there's not many houses that have got fires, and firewood is getting harder to get so you've got to have a fire and a heat pump in order to keep your house warm. Especially young families. But it would be the majority of houses here that wouldn't be insulated top to bottom. None of the windows have been... there's houses that are getting rented, should I put it this way; they're getting rented but they are actually not, they should be condemned. They're renting them out. (Redacted) is renting a house that's leaking. None of it's insulated. "

For those looking to buy or build a house in Raetihi, there were houses available for sale, but were not considered to be of good quality. It was difficult to find tradespeople to build new houses and fewer new houses were being built because of increasing costs of doing so.

"There are about five, but not good houses. A lot of love needed. One just about needs a miracle."
"There's a real shortage of building tradies. Mind you, I think the number of building consents going through has dropped enormously. The cost of building is so high and I think that the economy as it is right now, people are putting that off."

In noting that much of the available work in the area was causal, participants described a flow on effect in terms of housing in that:

"It’s really hard for many people to get mortgages because they're often on seasonal work and to get a mortgage you need to have a confirmed income for 12 months. That can be really tricky for people. Or they're self-employed and that can be difficult as well. So for local people it's hard to get mortgages. It makes it difficult that there's mainly seasonal work."

Whereas in 2020 residents noted that many people from out of town were buying houses as holiday homes, some noticed that more recently many houses had been bought as investment rental properties. However, concern was held over the upkeep of these houses especially where absentee landlords are concerned:

"In our street a lot of the houses had been abandoned but people have been recently buying them, clearing them up and doing good, but they will rent them. Because I ask them, "What are you going to do with that?" You know, buy it and sell it, or... They're going to do them up and rent them out. They're doing it so that they can rent them out for people. They're from out of town. (Redacted personal name)'s got three, and the one beside me, he's got three. They're going to do them up and then rent them out they said. And I thought that's good for our people who want to rent them. But then there's a lot of people that do stuff, they buy houses and then I've never seen them. The sections are a mess. Or they rent them, and they haven't been back and there's maintenance that needs to be done, trees that are going to fall. Locals are living there but the owners are in Auckland or somewhere else and they don't come back to see what their properties are doing. It's a problem right around town that I've noticed."
"It's a lack of education on the renters’ part too. They're scared they're going to get put out, so they don't say, hey, could you come and cut this tree down, or... And there's nothing else so if they get kicked out of there there's nowhere to go to so people are putting up with crap because they don't want to get kicked out. That's the ones that I know of, they don't want to say anything because they don't want to get booted out. It's a bit dangerous sometimes. "

Whilst some houses were used as holiday homes, this was not considered as common as nearby Ohakune:

"It is hard to get rentals and we do of course have a lot of people who own second houses here, they come here as a holiday home which cuts down the stock, the same as Ohakune, but not quite like Ohakune."
"You've got some that are used as Airbnb as well, or variations of Airbnb. some just use them for themselves. I wouldn't know how many."
"There isn't that many Airbnb’s in Raetihi itself."
"There's very little Airbnb in Raetihi I would say. There's a few. More in Ohakune. Far more."
"But I know of some. I've looked after some."

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