Sleeping in cars, overcrowded housing as Taranaki experiences worst rental squeeze in nearly 20 years

People sleeping in cars and overcrowding with families moving in with other families.

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One property specialist says in the worst time to rent in nearly 20 years. Source: 1 NEWS

Those are some of the hardest stories McDonald Real Estate Rental Division Manager Pam Hight has heard amid what she believes is the worst rental squeeze in Taranaki that she has seen in her 18 years in real estate.

"I think it’s going to be quite a long-term problem and it’s going to be hard on a lot of people," she told 1 NEWS.

Mrs Hight said they have more than 70 people turn up for an open viewing for one property.

Figures show Tenancy Services held 4,224 bonds for the New Plymouth district in March last year.

That figure was 3,438 in March this year – a decrease of 786 bonds.

Mrs Hight said sales were hitting their rental properties hard, and that there were a number of factors, including investors retiring and wanting to sell up, and "mum and dad investors" opting out as new Healthy Homes standards come in.

But Harcourts Taranaki Co-owner Graham Richards said he had not seen investors leaving over the new standards.

"We're seeing a few less houses, but New Plymouth's a pretty popular place, a lot of people are moving into North Taranaki for a lot of reasons," he said.

QV New Plymouth Registered Valuer, Danny Grace said, "We’re seeing very low levels of housing stock on the market for sale as well as a low number of houses available to rent."

"We’re seeing plenty of interest from investors outside of the region, who are attracted by the lower price point and better returns."

Mrs Hight says the good news is first home buyers are finding something.

But the squeeze for renters is hurting.