Thanks largely to a $4m donation from the Brian Perry Charitable Trust, Bridge Housing has opened Peake Mews, its first affordable housing neighbourhood in Cambridge.

“This milestone reaffirms our commitment to reshaping the housing landscape in the Waikato, ensuring that families have access to healthy and affordable housing. At Peake Mews we’ve been able to provide first home buyers access to Secure Homes, our leasehold programme which offers homes at approximately half the cost of similar freehold properties – this is a game changer”, said Simon Perry, Chair of Brian Perry Charitable Trust.

The significant Perry donation is the first of two multi-million-dollar contributions the Trust is making towards affordable housing in the Waikato, with a second donation earmarked for a development in Hamilton’s CBD, set to kick off in mid-2024.

The model is further supported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s Progressive Home Ownership fund, which provided a significant interest-free loan to Bridge Housing.

Progressive home ownership can help people into their own homes through arrangements like rent-to-buy, shared ownership or leasehold schemes. More information about how the Progressive Home Ownership Fund works with progressive home ownership providers like Bridge Housing can be found on the Ministry’s website.

Secure Homes are underpinned by backing from Westpac NZ, which is the official lender to Bridge Housing’s Secure Home households.

Westpac NZ Chief Executive Catherine McGrath visited the site in October, and says the bank is pleased to be working with Secure Homes to help get more New Zealanders into their own homes.

“The leasehold model offers a path to home ownership for first home buyers with smaller deposits, as they only need to secure lending for the cost of the dwelling, excluding the land,” Ms McGrath says.

“Lending that involves unconventional land ownership arrangements can be quite complex, but the model we created with the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust in 2022 gave us the blueprint we could use in the Waikato with Bridge Housing.”

Peake Mews will eventually see 47 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. The first eight households received their keys and moved in early December with a special welcome party held earlier this week.

Peake Mews and the Brian Perry Charitable Trust welcome families into their new affordable homes in Cambridge

“Finally having a place to call our own, knowing it’s secure and affordable, means the world to us”, said one resident.

“Now that we have our first runs on the board and have demonstrated what can be delivered through meaningful partnerships, we are even more determined to expand this initiative across the region.

Peake Mews is an example of what’s possible when affordability, security and community converge. We don’t want to lose momentum and are keen to speak with anyone who has an interest in being part of the solution to this enormous problem”, concluded Mr Perry.