Housing NZ to build for private sale

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 31/10/2012
Housing New Zealand plans to develop affordable housing for private sale for the first time on a site at 399 Manchester St on the edge of the city centre.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

NEW MEASURE: Housing New Zealand plans to develop affordable housing for private sale for the first time on a site at 399 Manchester St on the edge of the city centre.

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The Government will build affordable homes for private sale for the first time in response to the Christchurch housing shortage.

Housing New Zealand plans to link with a private developer to build a mix of social housing and affordable homes for sale on five Christchurch sites.

It hopes to pilot the new approach with a $9 million development in Manchester St on the edge of the city centre.

It is seeking expressions of interest from developers and designer teams to build between 20 and 30 one and two-bedroom units.

Housing New Zealand earthquake recovery team leader Andrew Booker said he hoped the new homes would ease housing shortages in Christchurch.

"This is in direct response to the housing issues in Christchurch from a social housing and affordable housing point of view across the board," he said.

"If we did this on a large scale it would certainly help.

"This is not just about Manchester St; this is about looking differently at the residential property that the corporation has - the form of the building and the type of tenure.

"We need to move to a mixed-tenure model."

The Manchester St development would include a mix of Housing New Zealand units, affordable rental apartments available through social agencies and affordable housing for private sale.

"We want this to be a benchmark for developments throughout the country," Booker said.

"It is a demonstration site for what we think should happen in the future."

Housing New Zealand plans to build between 200 and 350 houses in Christchurch over the next 18 months at a cost of between $60m and $90m.

Booker said 100 of those homes might not be owned by Housing New Zealand.

Housing New Zealand is experimenting with foundation techniques for the 450 properties it owns on technical category 3 land.

It is working with Arrow International and Southern Response to test different techniques on about 20 properties it owns. The findings will be made public to assist the rebuild.

The affordable housing initiative has been welcomed by Tenants Protection Association spokeswoman Helen Gatonyi.

"This is the way of the future and I think it is a really good first step," she said. "You need a diverse community, not just all social housing in one block."

Housing New Zealand's 6000 properties in Christchurch took a hit in the Canterbury earthquakes.

It had 750 vacant, quake-damaged properties, but 215 of those are in the residential red zone and 212 more have been repaired.

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