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Affordable Housing - what options would you choose?


The current NZ official view of affordable housing is ~$600,000 in Auckland and $500,000 elsewhere. I’m much more in line with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters suggestion that the average person should be able to buy a house on 4 times their wage. That means a home needs to cost closer to something more like $200-$300,000 to be truly affordable.

Ok, so how do you do that?
Well, there is an old saying… “Time, cost, quality…. pick any 2”
In other words, there are going to be trade-offs.
Therefore you, the potential home owner may have to make some tough decisions.

Here are some ideas to consider:

 - Move to a country town
 - Don’t own the land
 - Build a THOW - tiny house on wheels
 - Build the house yourself
 - Dilute the land cost through purchasing within a community development
 - Use some new technology or innovative construction methods
For all of these options, there are compromises or trade-offs, just as there also is in paying an urban McMansion mortgage off for 30 years!

What is my solution?

My focus is on community scale land development to deliver as many affordable sections as fast as possible. My research has so far led me to 3 main solutions for substantially. There are many ‘off the shelf’ style homes available. The other option is the build-your-own option which is probably the best if you have the time and inclination. For many people though, this is not an option so for the majority of people, I suggest the 2 key approaches to affordability are:

 - Smaller spaces; and
 - Offsite prefabrication

And the 3 main affordable solutions are:

 - Prefabricated homes (prefabs)
 - Kit homes
 - Yurts (no I’m not kidding)

Prefabs can be built in units to put together quickly or fully built and delivered off a truck. Cost savings of 20-30% should be realised as well as considerable time savings and reduced exposure to weather delays.
Kit homes are similar except the time/weather/quality risk is higher as they take longer to finish.

Yurts are round tents with domed roof framing. They can be well insulated, consented as a permanent dwelling by Council and provide a small (& relocatable) house for <$50,000. An excellent, if unconventional, option for many people. (see image below courtesy of https://www.yurts.com)

I’m currently in the process of selecting suitable prefabs and kits to incorporate into affordable house and land packages for my Featherston Village project; which will be the subject of an upcoming blog. Watch this space!

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