More new homes for Richmond

Another large subdivision is to go ahead in Richmond.

Resource consent has been given to the 53-lot development in Wensley Rd which is being steered by the same team behind a 64-lot subdivision on The Ridgeway.

Home Living Solutions is a syndicate of four home-build firms which will be the negotiating entity for prospective buyers on the subdivision to be created on land purchased by a family company, headed by Graham Vercoe.

The former head of G J Gardner Homes franchise in Nelson said he had stepped away from day-to-day work with the firm to focus more attention on the current development projects.

The directors of Home Living Solutions, described by the New Zealand Companies Office as a residential property operation and development firm, are Vercoe, Andrew Spittal, Gary Donaldson and Simon Collett.

"Home Living is just the company we have created to negotiate with outside parties - the conduit for people wanting to build; to provide solutions they might not normally have access to," Vercoe said.

The syndicate is working exclusively with Milestone Homes Nelson Bays and Jennian Homes, of which Collett is managing director, and G J Gardner and its offshoot, G J Express.

Vercoe said the concept was not anti-competitive and did not present any conflict of interest. It was designed solely to create opportunities for the public wanting to get into a new home. He said it was a model used elsewhere, such as in Christchurch, where developers invited a fixed number of builders, and it was common in showhome subdivisions.

The earthworks contract for the Wensley Rd project was put out to tender, and awarded recently to Motueka firm C J Industries.

"The concept of Home Living Solutions is to work with the developer to provide more cost-effective solutions for house and land packages.

Developer-driven costs are going up all the time and there's no control over the ultimate price, and the home owner pays in the end.

"Our aim is to put a cap on development costs," Vercoe said.

No other home build firms in Nelson would comment on whether such an arrangement reduced options for consumers, who were locked in to building with prescribed companies if they bought a section in the new subdivision.

Vercoe said building companies had seen the market fall off because of costs driven into the market place, including from central and local government.

"It's a case of thinking about doing things differently and surviving, or not. Home Living is just a meeting of minds to see if we can keep our industry going. It's not a business making money but a group of guys acting independently to provide a solution we think needs to be provided."

Vercoe said the way the packages would be set up would clear potential roadblocks for people seeking to purchase.

"We're now in a position where we can arrange a situation where the cost of the section is settled at the end of the build, which makes it easier for the home owner, who perhaps can't pay for the section until they've sold a home."

Vercoe said any risks to the developer were reduced by signed and sealed contracts.

"What we are trying to do is remove roadblocks and negotiate on their [buyers'] behalf to put a package deal together."

Vercoe said the Richmond development on land that was a former berry farm did not apply to one demographic or price range. He said home and land packages would be in the $400,000-$550,000 bracket and they would also try to make available three-bedroom and double bathroom deals in the $380,000-$400,000 price range, without compromising on size.

The Nelson Mail