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Council Agrees To Progress Housing Project On East Urban Land

“We have an obligation to be good stewards of this land and take the opportunity while we have it available.”

That’s according to Taupō District deputy mayor Kevin Taylor who has hailed a council decision yesterday as a significant step forward in addressing the Taupō District’s severe housing shortage.

Councillors voted to progress an agreement with a development partner comprising a consortium of Penny Homes, Classic Builders and Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust to deliver high-quality, attractive homes on part of the council-owned East Urban Lands block, to the south of Richmond Heights.

No rates money is involved in the agreement. The intention is for the project to be self-sustaining and council will be receiving market value for the land.

The council has developed an innovative vision for an attractive, quality, integrated community of 116 houses with plenty of green spaces and pathways. Around a third of these homes will be targeted at working people who can afford to pay a mortgage but can’t save a large enough deposit to buy a home at current market prices (the March 2024 median house price in Taupo was $880,000*).

Criteria for buyer eligibility is still to be set but it’s envisaged that first home buyers and working families will be the target groups and that prices will start at $550,000 for a two-bedroom home and $650,000 for a three-bedroom home. The remainder of the houses will be sold on the open market.

Under the agreement, the consortium will build, market and sell the houses. The houses will be progressively released for sale so as not to flood the local market and drive overall values down.

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While the first part of the project (62 homes) can proceed as soon as key commercial terms are agreed, the remainder is still subject to consultation with the community through the draft Long-term Plan process.

Cr Taylor says the council has repeatedly been asked by the community to take action on housing, and this agreement is the result.

“What we’re constantly hearing is that our working families – the people who staff our schools, medical facilities and serve in frontline emergency services – can’t find a decent home to buy because house prices are sky-high.

“These people have the ability to service a mortgage but the amount of deposit required just to get onto the property ladder is huge and constantly moving further away.”

Cr Taylor says the reason the new homes can be sold at a better price than houses in the nearby Kokomea Village/Nga Roto Estate area is because they are not as large and don’t have extras like ensuites and double garages.

“These are smaller houses on smaller sections but they will be efficient in size and function, warm, safe and built to a high standard. We think they will be a great option for helping our working families get on the property ladder; and that in turn has benefits for the wider community.

“I’m really proud of our council for being bold enough to pursue this project moving forward and I hope our community will be excited about it too.”

At yesterday’s meeting councillors also agreed to include rates-funded kerbside wheelie bins as a consulation topic in the draft Long-term Plan, giving the community options for both residential and commercial kerbside waste and recycling.

The community will have a chance to give its views on the options for kerbside rubbish and recycling and the East Urban Lands housing partnership during the draft Long-Term Plan consultation in June.

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