By Stephen Forbes of Local Government Reporting
A new $100 million apartment complex is coming to Manukau — Auckland’s heart of Pacific communities.
But you’ll have to be aged at least 55 to get in.
Kāinga Ora is expected to start construction of the 123 apartments in Osterley Way in March. The 16-storey tower will include 94 one-bedroom and 29 two-bedroom apartments.
The government said it was necessary to target targeting specific age groups to match an increasing demand from “older customers”.
“Kāinga Ora recognises our older customers have specific housing needs, which we are addressing through senior housing developments such as the proposed project in Manukau,” regional director for Counties Manukau Angela Pearce said.
Pearce said one in five of the agency’s homes in Counties-Manukau had someone over 65 living in it, while 670 of its homes in the area were occupied by sole tenants in the same age group.
“With an aging population, Kāinga Ora recognises the importance of dedicated senior housing where our older tenants can live well, feel safe and secure, both in their homes and the community.”
Two years on state house list
Maureen O’Meara, 75, spent two years on the state house waiting list and was renting a two-bedroom unit in Pakuranga for $420 a week until earlier this year.
“I had $17 left a week after paying the rent,” O’Meara said. “Being on a pension and paying market rent meant I didn’t have a lot of money left to live on.”
O’Meara managed to find somewhere more affordable in May after she was put in touch with Haumaru Housing, a joint venture between Auckland Council and the Selwyn Foundation.
But O’Meara said the Manukau development reflects an increasing number of people reaching retirement without a home.
“And I think there’s going to be a need for more places like it,” she said.
Age Concern Auckland chief executive Kevin Lamb said it’s important the development was close to public transport and community facilities.
“We think it’s high time older people had accommodation that is new and more appropriate for their needs.”
Big part of pension on housing
Recently-released research by Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission showed superannuitants still paying rent were more likely to be spending 40 percent or more of their pension on housing.
While long-term trends suggest more older New Zealanders are likely to still be renting in their retirement.
Te Ara Ahunga Ora director of policy Dr Suzy Morrissey said with declining home ownership rates there was a growing need for public housing and accommodation for those aged 55 and over.
“When NZ Super was introduced, it was with the underlying assumption that those accessing it would be mortgage-free homeowners,” she said.
“Today, the reality is very different. There are declining home ownership rates, more people needing to continue working longer because they still have mortgages to pay, are paying rent, or haven’t been able to save enough to retire.”
- Auckland is currently in the middle of the local body elections with a Pacific candidate, Fa’anānā Efeso Collins, one of the two top contenders for mayor of the super city.