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The affordable homes that nobody wants to buy

Author
Anne Gibson,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Monday, 11 February 2019, 12:50p.m.

Six new affordable KiwiBuild houses in the expensive Wanaka market remain unsold despite being marketed since October for just $565,000 to $635,000 - around $100,000 cheaper than other similar places in the same area.

Homes are being advertised in the alpine settlement and its subdivision Northlake, being developed by private capital specialists Winton, trying to draw buyers: "Live the Wanaka lifestyle in an architecturally-designed and affordable KiwiBuild Home. View our first 10 KiwiBuild homes."

Northlake, Wanaka, a KiwiBuild homes for sale.
Northlake, Wanaka, a KiwiBuild homes for sale.

Real Estate Institute figures put Wanaka's median sale price at $865,000 but the latest Quotable Value data puts the Queenstown Lakes District, which includes Wanaka, at an average $1.18m value, up 1.1 per cent in the latest three months alone.

KiwiBuild says eight homes are currently under construction at Northlake and seven have been completed.

"Some homes are ready now and the remainder will be completed in early 2019," KiwiBuild's web site says.

A three-bedroom home at 41 Glen Dene Cres advertised for $630,000 has sold, along with a two-bedroom place at 47 Glen Dene Cres advertised at $575,000, the two-bedroom home at 49 Glen Dene Cres at $565,000 and the three-bedroom 16 Mt Burke St for $650,000.

Prospective buyers of the other six homes on Mt Burke St, Mount Linton Ave, Merivale Ave and Glen Dene Cres are being asked to visit a show home or contact sales agent Scott McCoun of Bayleys.

Clint Smith, a KiwiBuild spokesman said "as with all property sales, some of the time purchases don't end up being completed" but for privacy reasons, he declined to say why sales did not go ahead.

The 10 homes were initially offered in a ballot but did not sell.

One of the finished KiwiBuilds at Wanaka. Photo/Winton
One of the finished KiwiBuilds at Wanaka. Photo/Winton

All up, more than 800 new places are being developed at Northlake, a few minutes' drive from Wanaka's established town centre. The subdivision has shops, a playground and recreation areas, offices and dining outlets.

The 10 KiwiBuild homes are by Winton, a wealthy privately-owned developer with projects here and in Australia and headed by Chris Meehan.

"Winton specialises in developing integrated and fully master-planned communities that are best by design, with superior building standards where no detail is overlooked by way of wholly owned developments or joint ventures. By the end of 2023, Winton will have delivered in excess of 7000 residential lots and apartment units across its portfolio," that business says.

Master bedroom at a KiwiBuild, Wanaka. Photo/Winton
Master bedroom at a KiwiBuild, Wanaka. Photo/Winton

"Northlake is one of Wanaka's top residential developments, well located close to the town centre, schools, Lake Wanaka, the Clutha River and all the recreational opportunities that they bring," Winton says.

Meehan said he had been pleased to see Northlake residents using an onsite tennis court, installed in 2017.

Twyford scrapped the first-year target. Photo/Dean Purcell
Twyford scrapped the first-year target. Photo/Dean Purcell

The main village is off Outlet Rd. Northlake Dr is the main entrance into the Northlake Village Centre, with secondary access via Mount Linton Ave and Northburn Rd.

A Bayleys agent selling Northlake homes said today three-bedroom non-KiwiBuild homes sold in the subdivision for around $750,000 and non-KiwiBuild four-bedroom homes for around $900,000. Sections went from around $280,000 to $350,000, he said. The area was attractive because it was in Wanaka, he said.

The Government's flagship policy initially aimed to build 100,000 high-quality affordable homes in 10 years, with 1000 delivered in its inaugural year which finishes on July 1, 2019.

Progress so far on KiwiBuild's web site says only 47 homes have been completed, leaving 953 to rise in the remaining months. Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford "has acknowledged first year targets won't be met and said the programme needs to be recalibrated to build homes faster," a spokesperson from his office said today.

Scott McGoun of Bayleys Wanaka would not say how long he had been marketing the KiwiBuild homes in the subdivision.

Sonya Fynmore of Winton said the six unsold homes were no longer in the KiwiBuild ballot system which "makes it more straight-forward for first home buyers. Four of the 10 were sold off the plans. One is occupied, two are complete and awaiting council sign off, and one is due for completion late in February. With a show home now complete, potential purchasers can now get a real sense of the finished product and as such, we are confident the KiwiBuild homes in the Northlake community will attract more buyers over the coming months."

Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive, last month called for new KiwiBuild targets.

"We understand the target of building 100,000 homes in 10 years hasn't changed, but we are calling on the minister to instead announce a new target to be achieved ahead of next year's election. With any large project it's essential that milestones and targets are set along the way in order to measure progress, but also to break the project down into more manageable deliverables," Norwell said.

The housing shortage was a fundamental issue for New Zealand and if the Government was struggling with building 1000 houses in year one, it highlighted just how difficult it is to build houses in New Zealand, she said.

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