Construction is underway for the first batch of homes for a new affordable housing scheme in Queenstown.
The Queenstown Community Housing Trust is building two 2-bedroom and four 3-bedroom homes at Shotover Country as part of its pilot scheme, Secure Home. Said to be the first of its kind in New Zealand, the programme will see people purchase the properties through a 99-year land lease arrangement, with the Trust retaining ownership of the land in perpetuity.
The six lots in Shotover Country’s Cherwell Lane were transferred to the Trust by the developers as part of Queenstown Lakes District Council’s Special Housing Area process.
“The essence of the Shared Home programme means a household will be able to purchase the home at around the cost to build it, excluding the land cost,” Trust executive officer Julie Scott said. “They will then pay a very low ground rent on the land, which will only ever increase annually and in line with inflation.”
In the pilot, low ground rent will be set at 1.5% of land value. “A standard lease would expect a 4 to 5% return so we’re very happy to be able to do this at 1.5%. For example, a $300,000 section would return a ground rent of $4500 per annum, or $86.50 per week,” Scott explained.
Scott also noted another aspect of the programme, which is a restricted resale clause whereby the property can only ever be sold back to the Trust at the original purchase price plus consumer price index for the years the owners have been in the house.
“This will ensure the property remains affordable for future homeowners,” he stated.
The Trust said there are more than 500 households on the waiting list. Civil works were completed earlier this month, with each house at various stages of construction. Breen Construction is building the homes, and they are expected to be complete by early 2019.
Taskforce Chair and QLDC Councillor John MacDonald, meanwhile, said: “We’re very pleased to see progress is being made with this programme. This is one of the key recommendations to come out of the task force report, and the council is behind the Trust 100%.”
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