​A program to move people out of rentals and give them a sense of security with housing has been launched in Te Awamutu. Twenty new two bedroom townhouses on Ohaupo Rd are available to buy at $291,750 – less than half the market price. The catch is – you don’t own the land but hold a 100-year lease.

This is Bridge Housing Charitable Trust’s second development, following the Peake Mews project in Cambridge. General manager Jennifer Palmer says while the trust built the homes in Cambridge themselves, they have purchased the units in Te Awamutu from Da Silva Builders. This eliminates the land and house package, and delivers the Secure Homes Programme, where the houses are sold back to the Trust for cost plus inflation once the family moves on.

Palmer says the project has come together with the help of $4 million interest-free loan from Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) and a community-minded developer willing to cut favourable deals with them.

“It’s a really tough model if you don’t have 20 different points of intervention to make it work.”

Brian Perry Charitable Trust General Manager Jennifer Palmer at the new housing development on Ohaupo Road in Te Awamutu. CHRISTEL YARDLEY / WAIKATO TIMES

The selection process will be based on first in first served and Palmer said they had already received over 150 inquiries in less than a month. First home buyers or potentially second-chancers with less than $150,000 combined annual household income are eligible to apply. Ethnic groups Māori and Pasifika, and families with children are considered priority.

Palmer said they were targeting renters, “not people looking to buy homes” and had put the listing under rentals on TradeMe.

“We are attracting the people who kind of are always thinking they’ll be renting for life and then they see this as an alternative.

“Historically, we’ve always been trying to sell them as buy your own home, which it is, but that’s a different market.”

The new residents will start moving in from July. Da Silva Builders held 16 of the 36 units on 161 Ohaupo Road and they had been listed for $620,000. Full ownership was going to be a challenge for many and this program was a no-brainer, Palmer said.

She said more people were interested in the project following the success of Peake Mews in Cambridge.

Bridge Housing Trust sold eight units in December last year and 10 new homes – five two-bedroom and five four-bedroom – will be ready by early next year. The ultimate goal is 47 houses on that site and works for a third development of 42 apartments in Central Hamilton is currently underway.

Article extracted from the Waikato Times 2 May 2024