To avoid confusion ...
There are three groups currently underaking housing initiatives in Golden Bay:
- Golden Bay/Mohua Affordable Housing Project (us): Our mission is to provide Golden Bay/Mohua with quality affordable housing to rent or own. We will build houses throughout Golden Bay.
- The Golden Bay Housing Trust - He Whare Noho ki Mohua: Established in 2005, they have houses in Takaka where working families can save for a deposit to purchase a home.
- Takaka Cohousing Neighbourhood Project: This is a 33 home cohousing development in Takaka.
Is this really happening?
Yes. The Golden Bay/Mohua Affordable Housing Project (GBMAHP) team has been working closely with Tasman District Council who are providing excellent advice and guidance. We have been offered 30 potential sites for building houses, and have selected the first eight for our 'proof-of-concept' builds. We have received our first resource consent and materials are ordered. Subject to the Building Consent being provided, and the availability of materials, construction will start by late March with occupation by late April: just over four months from the start of the project.
A map showing the status of our builds at various locations around Golden Bay is at the bottom of the 'Our Houses' page.
Who are the homes for?
Any home provided by the GBMAHP must be used exclusively as the household’s Primary Residence.
How do I register my interest in an affordable home or in helping the project?
- To register your interest in a rental (or rent-to-own) home please complete this form.
- If you have a property and would like to host a home please complete this form.
- If you would like to discuss how you can invest in the GBMAHP please complete this form.
If you haven't already, please subscribe to our mailing list on the home page so you can keep up to date with developments.
How would you summarise the project?
The Concept Proposal describes how the GBMAHP proposes to build affordable houses with a target rent of under $300/week for a 2 bedroom 60 square metre house. The target for rent-to-buy (or buy) the house is under $400/week. Larger houses will be built as the GBMAHP proceeds. In Phases 1 and 2 the GBMAHP will not purchase land but lease it using 'occupancy licenses'. We are planning for Phase 3 where the GBMAHP secures land and so can offer it on long-term (e.g. 99 year) leasehold arrangements.
The GBMAHP aims at providing low-income people with access to housing on a rent or rent-to-own basis. For those who do not meet our low-income criteria, we can still help you into an affordable home through ownership, but the project will not finance the house.
The major differentiator is that the GBMAHP will provide Direct support to those eligible for rent and rent-to-own. Eligibilty criteria are defined later in this FAQ. If you are not eligible we can still assist by providing access to our team to construct a house for you at your cost (Indirect support).
Below is how this benefits the different parties participating in the GBMAHP:
- Homes which are warm, dry, secure and comfortable to live in
- Secure long-term tenancies
- Rent which is affordable, and lower than the prevailing 'market' rates in Golden Bay
- Homes which are warm, dry, secure and comfortable to live in
- Homes they can afford to buy on a modest income
- Financing for those who may not be eligible, or have to pay a premium
- Leasehold land arrangements which greatly reduce the cost of home ownership
- Support for those in need of affordable accommodation in our community
- A financial return for land which is not currently in use either through an annual income or ultimate ownership of dwelling
- Trouble free tenancies with the GBMAHP managing all matters related to the rentals
- Secure income paid via the GBMAHP so not affected by the specific situation of the tenants
- Potential for multiple houses on one title could give significant returns for large rural properties, providing much needed income and options outside of traditional developments
- Support for those in need of affordable accommodation in our community
- Obtain a better return on your capital than from major banks (estimated at double the current 5 year term deposit rate)
- Secure investment with your funds allocated to specific and identifiable houses
Will you be able to help everyone?
No. We cannot be all things to all people. It is targeting people on low incomes and so you must meet our eligibility criteria to get project funding.
There are also people who due to rental histories, personal circumstances, etc. are not a good fit for the project. These will need to be served by others. However, the goal is to try and help as many eligible people as possible to get into affordable secure rental accommodation, or to finally own their own home. Others may want custom features in their homes which we cannot satisfy.
You mention ‘eligible’, what does this mean?
The goal of the project is to provide an avenue to those in our community who are suffering from rental vulnerability, or who have insufficient means to purchase their own home. In other words, workers, pensioners, beneficiaries, etc. To this end, the project will be using factors such as income, household wealth, etc. to assess eligibility. We are drawing on the practices of other providers to establish the eligibility criteria. The current criteria are summarised below with more details here.
Are you building 'tiny' homes?
No. Not as the term is commonly used (i.e. homes on wheels). Our homes will be small homes, with the minimum size a two bedroom, 60 square metre unit. The photo below is an example, with more details here.
They will be built on piles so are transportable (if necessary due to changes with the occupancy license arrangements on a property) and above the Takaka flood zone limit. Construction will be done by Golden Bay's builders,with materials and services procured through local suppliers wherever possible. These are 'conventional' homes which will meet or exceed the current building code, the Government's 'Healthy Homes' standard, and provide warm secure accommodation. We are working with 'Lifemark' to ensure that our houses meet accessibility requirements.
It is important to appreciate that the houses we build will not be everyone's preference. For example, there will be limited customisations of layouts. Where practicable we will use natural products, but may not always be possible. We are laser focused on affordability and this will dictate how we proceed.
Why did you adopt the approach in the Concept Proposal for the project?
There were three key ‘anchors’ described in the Concept Proposal which led to the project design:
- Start with the affordability of $200-$300/week for rent and $300-$400/week for ownership (for simplicity $250/week and $350/week respectively)
- Fully comply with all existing Tasman District Council zoning and regulations
- Move rapidly
With these three anchors in place it created the challenge to find the most viable solution.
Are you tied to this approach?
No. As long as the outcome of providing affordable accommodation is achieved how we get there is not critical.
Can you really provide rental and rent-to-buy homes for your target weekly costs?
Hopefully. To begin with, we have assumed the worst case scenario for financing: no external funding from Government, philanthropists, trusts, or other donors. Any external funding makes the affordability much easier to achieve.
The weekly costs will depend upon three factors: (i) the cost of capital; (ii) the cost to build the 2 bedroom/60 square metre houses; and, (iii) the cost for land.
For (i), we are fortunate that we are living in a time of low interest rates with the 5 year return on fixed investments only 0.9% from the major trading banks (February, 2021). So we have priced in a 4% cost of capital for the first 5 years. For (ii) we have identified nine different house options to date which have the potential to allow us to meet the target cost range. Our Phase 1 'proof-of-concept' is designed to allow us to build up to six different houses and identify the actual costs of the builds so we can refine the financial modelling and confirm the house costs moving forward. Land (iii) is the key challenge and, as described below, it will be secured for Phase 1 and 2 rentals through an occupancy license. As shown below (from the Concept Proposal) when the occupancy license payments are minimal, it should be easy for us to meet the target of $250/week for rent. For purchase, under Phase 3, if we are able to obtain land for multiple dwelllings on a single title we would aim to use the Queenstown model for occupancy license payments: 1.5% of the capital value of the ground rent. This would be approximately $60/week or less for some of land options we have identified.
Where will the land come from?
The Concept Proposal proposes that for renting we use occupancy licenses to access land for constructing homes in Phases 1 and 2. This means that we would lease the right to have a house on an existing property owner's land. As of 1 March 2021 we have over 30 offers for land to host houses from all over Golden Bay.
The land owners may offer the licenses at no charge (for example if the house is to be constructed for family, close friends or because they want to help the community), or it is proposed that they may be paid either an annual license rent as income (e.g. $100/week) or not be paid the rent, but instead after (say) 15 years be assigned the full ownership of the dwelling (see the table above).
In Phase 3 of the project we hope to secure a large area of land and build multiple dwellings on a single title as leased land (an approach used in Queenstown). The ground rent being around 1.5% of the capital value--potentially $60/week--and facilitate rent-to-own.
Can I build on family owned land?
Yes, with a few provisos. We strongly encourage building on family land as this would provide a secure and hopefully low/minimal cost occupancy license. It's ideal for 'rent-to-own'.
This is an affordable housing project so the recipients of the house will need to meet the GBMAHP criteria with regard to wealth and income.
At the same time, we need to avoid the situation where people with means are using the limited resources of our project to house family when they could reasonably be expected to finance the cost themselves. So we will need to look at this on a case-by-case basis.
Another option is to use our 'Ownership' model. If you have the capital already and want to use the project to supply a home that is a possibility (see below), or if you have an existing transportable dwelling which is fully compliant with the building code.
Is this a Co-Housing Project?
No. The project is designed around individual homes, not living in a community/co-housing arrangement. Co-housing arrangements also add complications, costs and probably delays.
If you don't believe this, read Robin Allison's book "Co-Housing for Life" on establishing Auckland's Earthsong community, a copy of which we have donated to Takaka Library for those interested in understanding our decision not to follow this approach.
There is a parallel co-housing project being developed for Meihana Street in Takaka by another group.
Where will the money come from to build the houses?
People in the community who are interested in 'Impact Investments' which not only offer a financial return, but more importantly have a positive impact on society (see below). Already over a dozen people have come forward expressing interest to provide funds to the project--from small to large amounts. We already have firm commitments for $500,000 towards our Phase 1 $1 million cost and so expect to start construction of the first house by April 2021, subject to supply and builder availability.
Broadly, this is how we see the GBMAHP financing working:
- People from Golden Bay and elsewhere in New Zealand who wish to help us will invest in the project--this is not a donation but an investment
- The amounts may be small or large; everything will help
- We will target to pay investors twice the rate of five-year fixed term deposits from the major commercial banks. Currently, they pay 0.9% so we are targeting a 2% return
- The funds would be 'locked in' for five years (same as the term deposits), with a to be defined arrangement for early withdrawal
- Investors would be told which specific house(s) they have funded, and may also chose to target a group for supporting (e.g. pensioners)
- When the project is into the full implementation phase, we would expect to raise a 'Community Bond' as these require at least $5m for making it viable. This would open up the project to a wider range of investors
We are finalising the vehicle for managing the funds to ensure proper governance, transparency and accountability. Until this is done, we are not actively soliciting funds but if you would like to discuss how you can invest in the project please complete this form and we will be in touch.
Can I purchase one of your homes?
Yes. This is our 'Ownership' model which receives 'Indirect' support from the project.
You will benefit through the economies of scale that the project offers and have a really nice affordable home. You will pay the same that we would pay for having your house built. The same team would build it under the same terms they work for us. They would be contracted independently by you.
How are you dealing with Tasman District Council zoning and other requirements?
By fully complying with them. The Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) is a statutory document which Tasman District Council must apply to all projects. We have designed the project specifically with this reality in mind. While we may engage on some interpretations of the TRMP, we are not considering any 'accommodations' or changes to it for our project. From our work to date we are confident that we can achieve our goals of increasing affordable housing in Golden Bay within the requirements of the TRMP. Tasman District Council staff are as interested as everyone is in addressing Golden Bay's housing crisis, and have been very helpful in guiding the project to date. We have support of the CEO and the Council and are working closely with them to address the challenge of affordable housing. They have provided invaluable advice and guidance on how best to undertake the proejct.
Given the demand for affordable rentals, how will you prioritise?
The team is looking at approaches used around New Zealand for prioritising. These will be used to develop some proposals which will be assessed by a small group representing the community, businesses, and the elderly to agree upon how to do this. As noted in the Concept Proposal, potential considerations include—but are not limited to—Length of tenure in Golden Bay with housing insecurity, Working families with children (i.e. the GBHT model), Elderly, Disability, Children, MSD eligible but unable to be served, Transitional youth. The key is to find an approach which objectively gives the most balanced outcome. The approach will be reviewed and adapted regularly.
It should be noted that one overarching consideration may be access to suitable land through an occupancy license through the applicant’s family or social networks. Since land availability is the key to anything, if someone has such access, it makes housing them so much easier as this would greatly increase their likelihood of being helped sooner than later.
What do you mean by “suitable land”?
For land to be suitable it must first meet TDC’s requirements for secondary minor dwellings. This decision will be made solely by TDC. If it passes this requirement, the project builders will then assess the suitability. Flat land with good access is ideal; hilly land with difficult access likely will not work. The land owner must also be willing to enter into an occupancy license agreement for at least 10-15 years so that we do not run the risk of having to relocate the house too early. Finally, sites which do not require major upgrades to on-site wastewater disposal will be preferred (see below).
Who are going to build the houses?
All building work will be done by licensed builders. Below are our current partners.
I don’t like the idea of composting toilets, are there other options?
Yes. The Concept Proposal includes those as an option for situations where it may not be viable to connect to any alternative. When constructing the secondary minor dwelling, if we connect to the property’s existing system (e.g. septic), the overall system must have sufficient capacity to effectively handle both the existing and new dwelling. Most will not. Upgrading of the existing system may be very expensive and this would need to be factored into the cost of the secondary minor dwelling. The options will be clear once we have identified the potential sites for hosting.
If I host a home, will I have any say in who lives there?
Yes. It's important that you are in control of who the tenants are who will be living on your property. We anticipate that the process would see you defining the types of tenants you would be comfortable with, and from the prioritised list of people seeking accommodation we would present you with some options. After reviewing you would meet the ones you considered most suitable, or we would present you with other options. Only once we have 'paired' you with a tenant would we commence the process of providing the home on your property. If we can't find a suitable match then we will not be able to accept your offer of hosting a home. Below is the approach used to select tenants.
What if I provide an occupancy license and sell my land before the 10-15 year period is up?
There are a few scenarios:
- Ideally, the new owner would agree to extend the occupancy license so nothing changes
- They may wish to have the house removed from the land. Here, we anticipate that the sale agreement would include the cost of moving the house, or potentially purchase of it at an agreed cost. Moving is estimated to be equal to about 2-3 years of occupancy license payments so the ‘house host’ will still come away ahead financially, as well as having helped our community.
- They may wish to keep the house and not use it for affordable housing. If we decide not to move the house, we would negotiate an appropriate price for the house purchase.
How do I make a Complaint?
Our complaints policy is here.