Holiday home owners in northern New South Wales are urged to offer their properties to flood victims as the region grapples with a worsening housing crisis, compounded by the emergency of the floods.
- Housing on the NSW North Coast is seen as ‘the biggest ongoing humanitarian crisis’ by the mayor of Tweed
- Chris Cherry calls on homeowners to hand over their holiday homes to flood-affected people
- Estate agent says some landlords are already offering free accommodation
Thousands of homes in the Northern Rivers and Tweed areas were damaged or uninhabitable by the deadly floodwaters.
The housing supply in the area has been described as “the biggest ongoing humanitarian crisis since that event” by Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry.
“We need your house”
Cr Cherry said landlords looking to help should consider returning short-term vacation properties to the rental market.
“If there was a time when you wanted to help, what we need now is to put your house back on the permanent rental market because people need shelter right now,” said said Cr Cherry.
Cr Cherry said he met NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet over the urgent need for long-term rentals.
“I was with the Prime Minister yesterday to say this was our greatest need – temporary housing and permanent affordable housing in our county,” she said.
“Please could he use every lever he has to talk about short term vacation rental.”
Temporary housing is not enough
Northern Rivers was already suffering from rent compression before the flood disaster.
Hundreds of flood victims have already been housed in hotels across the county.
“But it’s very, very short term – it’s three or five days,” said Cr Cherry.
Estate agent Paul McMahon said area homeowners were already offering free short-term rentals.
“Anything we can do to help these people who are suffering would be great.”
But he warns that the abandonment of holiday homes could have a long-term tourism impact on a region flooded and ravaged by COVID.
Do not give up the miracle solution
Mr. McMahon says the billion-dollar vacation industry is the biggest earner in Northern Rivers.
“It plays a very big part in the… jobs, everything for Tweed,” he said.
“If you start playing with it too much, then all of a sudden your restaurants will start to disappear.
“Lots of other jobs for everyone from electricians to cleaners to gardeners… everything will start to disappear.”
Mr McMahon said the new owner-occupiers had taken the stock of rental and vacation homes out of the already tight market.
“Even now, with everything going on, you still need housing for workers coming into the area.”
More subdivisions needed
SQM Research real estate analyst Louis Christopher said the call may fall on deaf ears.
He said short-term rentals were in high demand because of COVID.
“I understand there’s an immediate need here and now, but I don’t know how many owners are going to respond to that,” he said.
Mr Christopher said there was a housing supply problem in the Tweed Shire before the floods.
He said council had been reluctant to rezone land for development with many five-acre ‘lifestyle’ blocks in the area that could be subdivided.
“It’s the reality of what it was used for, it’s just a lifestyle.
Loading the form…