KiwiBuild and Hamilton: where might the homes be, and how do you get one?

Housing developments proposed for Hamilton may choose to - or be required to - include a percentage of KiwiBuild homes. But they still need government approval 

Keep an eye on Horotiu if you want a KiwiBuild home around Hamilton.

A big housing development is proposed in the area, though it needs Government approval to get going.

If the 1000-home Horotiu development gets the tick, the group behind it is keen on making 400 of the homes KiwiBuilds.

Perry Group wants to create Te Awa Lakes on a triangular piece of land bordered by the Waikato River, the Waikato Expressway and Hutchinson Road.

Conditions on the development set by Hamilton City Council - at the urging of central government - are that 40 per cent of homes in the special housing area would need to be "affordable" - though what the means has yet to be defined.

"The key for us is to work with government to find a way to do it," Te Awa Lakes development director Lale Ieremia said.

It's not common for a developer to have someone underwrite a build and help put people in the homes, he said, and that gives developers the certainty to build more houses at once.

"Effectively, you've got someone saying: I'll take all those. I'll take them now. You carry on and build the rest of them," Ieremia said.

Still, more detail on what the Government expects for the KiwiBuild $500,000 price cap will be crucial, Perry Group chief executive Richard Coventry said.

It would be challenging to build a three-bedroom place for less, and Perry Group wants a range of homes at Te Awa Lakes - not 400 one-bedroom apartments.

"We're confident we can make it work," Coventry said, "but there are a lot of moving pieces in the development so it's really hard to say exactly how it's going to fall."

Horoitu housing location
A 1000-home Horotiu development on this site could provide 400 KiwiBuilds. However, the Perry Group needs more detail on what government is expecting
They could start with two or three levels of apartments above the proposed village centre, near the existing BP service station on Hutchinson Road, Ieremia said.

However, the Perry Group master plan also includes duplexes and terraced housing.

A 1450-plus home Rotokauri North development is also waiting for central government approval, and has been told by the city council that 580 homes must be "affordable".

It's too early to say whether KiwiBuild could be part of that, Ma Development Enterprises head of development Gary Noland said.

Two other smaller special housing areas which also need the government tick - one in Te Rapa and another in Hamilton Lake - have been told 40 per cent of their homes must meet KiwiBuild criteria.

The affordability condition was a way to help the Labour Government achieve its targets, Mayor Andrew King has said in debate.

"They've specifically asked us and pointed out what we can do to help them to do that. And I'm very happy to make that work for them."

However, KiwiBuild homes can also be outside special housing areas, and Labour list MP Jamie Strange is "fairly confident" Hamilton's first will be built by the end of 2018.

"From the developers I've been meeting with, there's high interest," he said. "The major developers are basically currently undertaking work around whether they are able to deliver under that $500,000 mark."

Government had deliberately left the design and type of home open to developers, he said.

The Government has said it will build 100,000 homes over the coming decade, 50,000 of those outside Auckland.

Kiwi build locations Hamilton
The Government has said it will build 100,000 homes over the coming decade, 50,000 of those outside Auckland. Pictured is Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford speaking to media at the Build NZ conference 
So, how do you get in line for a KiwiBuild?

To be eligible, a sole purchaser must earn less than $120,000, or couples must have a combined income of less than $180,000.

Buyers would need to prove they could get a bank loan, must live in the house for three years, and must also be citizens or permanent residents, and first-home buyers or "second-chancers".

There are more interested people than houses available, so a ballot will be conducted.

At the moment, people can register interest in KiwiBuild and, as the homes get closer to being ready, there will be a pre-qualification process run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Meanwhile, the South Waikato District is pitching itself as the ideal spot for pre-fabrication of KiwiBuild homes.

"We have a plentiful supply of low-cost, appropriately zoned land, located on State Highway 1 and are within two-and-a-half hours' drive of over half of New Zealand's population, combined with rail links to the Port of Tauranga and the Ports of Auckland," council chief executive Craig Hobbs said.