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Medium-density housing the new norm for first-home buyers in Queenstown

Medium-density housing the new norm for first-home buyers in Queenstown

November 7, 2016. For immediate release

With the Queenstown Lakes District property market experiencing record highs, demand for smaller sections and medium-density subdivisions is also on the increase.

First-home buyers in the district are opting for smaller properties as they enter the market, with the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust (QLCHT) leading the approach to down-sized living.

QLCHT has been advocating for smaller sections and smaller homes for several years, and it seems home buyers are now accepting the ‘quarter-acre dream’ is a thing of the past, QLCHT Executive Officer Julie Scott says.

“When the Trust was created back in 2007, the idea of 300sq m sections in low-density subdivisions was virtually unheard of in our district. First-home buyers baulked at the idea and developers resisted creating such small-sized sections within their subdivisions.

“Since then the market has changed dramatically and QLCHT has been on a mission to educate its clients that their first home is not necessarily their ‘forever’ home, and they will need to make sacrifices in order to get on to one of QLCHT’s various rental and ownership programmes.”

QLCHT’s initial project at Lake Hayes Estate was the first example of smaller sections (315sq m land size) and homes to address affordable housing in the resort.

“When we created this 27-lot development back in 2009, demand was low and we faced resistance from several factions of the community for this type of housing. Eight years on we’re incredibly proud of the development and the community we created within it,” Scott recalls.

QLCHT’s next project was a 10-lot affordable rental development at Suffolk St, Arrowtown, with section sizes ranging from 225sq m to 450sq m.

At the start of 2016 the Trust moved on to its largest project to date – a 44-lot mixed tenure development at Shotover Country. With section sizes starting from 225sq m, the Trust has had no lack of demand for these properties, with more than 370 eligible households on its waiting list.

“Demand from residents seeking housing assistance has sky-rocketed in the past 12 months – in line with the local property market and lack of properties available to rent. We have received over 250 registrations of interest from local families in the past 12 months alone,” Scott says.

“Such high demand indicates that first-home buyers are finally coming around to the idea of small spaces. New Zealanders, in particular, have long held a view that they need a quarter-acre section. The Trust sees itself as having an important role to play in educating people that they can live comfortably in a smaller home on a smaller section,” Scott adds.

Last year QLCHT submitted on the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s District Plan, supporting changes for increased medium density in all proposed areas of Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown.

“We agree with Council that certain areas within our district should be building up – not out,” Scott says.


For further information please contact:
QLCHT Executive Officer Julie Scott – (03) 450 1702 or 027 645 2447

About the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust
QLCHT is a not-for-profit social enterprise created to manage and deliver affordable housing solutions to those vital to the community who cannot afford it. Initiated by local council in 2007, which recognised the affordability issue and acted upon it, the Trust is now an independent entity operating throughout the Queenstown Lakes District.

Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.