5 January 2019

How to find affordable housing in a city that’s taking off

2018 has been a strong year for first home buyer activity in Hamilton. Across the market, the median house price was $562,000 (as at April 2018). So what does this mean for you, as you plan to enter the housing market and step onto the first rung of the property ladder? Is it still possible to find affordable housing in Hamilton? And if so, where is it hiding?

See if you’re eligible for KiwiBuild  

You might have heard of the affordable housing initiative KiwiBuild, which is designed to help aspiring first home owner-occupiers. KiwiBuild’s policy aims to build 100,000 affordable homes for New Zealand citizens over the next 10 years, and setting them at a maximum price of $500,000 (although this figure will be higher in Auckland and Queenstown). KiwiBuild is targeting people who are currently locked out of the market so it’s worth looking into this as an option if you are a single buyer and earning less than $120,000 or a couple earning less than $180,000. Check out the eligibility criteria and more information on the MBIE website

Build in an up-and-coming development

If KiwiBuild isn’t an option for you but you like the idea of a new home, then consider if building is a possibility. Hamilton is one of New Zealand’s fasting growing cities with 161,200 residents and 6,000 more expected by 2020. To support this growth, Hamilton City Council has major developments under way or planned for Rototuna, Rotokauri, Peacocke and Ruakura. You might like to find out more about these developments or the Perry Group development, Te Awa Lakes, to see if living in one of these new areas interests you. 

Most housing companies offer fixed-price packages which can make building a new house affordable. It pays to shop around and see who can deliver what you need within your budget.   

Live your own version of The Block

You may prefer to roll your sleeves up and renovate an old home (with plenty of mates to help you on weekends!) Renovations are a big commitment but a great way to get in on the ground floor of an affordable house and increase the value of your asset. There’s lots of affordable houses that require a bit of TLC and DIY – just make sure you’re willing to get your hands dirty!

Think about the future

When thinking about what you’d like in an affordable house, it’s worth considering whether you want to buy something to live in now and rent out later, or something that will grow with you and your family. If you’re looking for a property to add value to, be realistic about the amount of work to be done and the cost of materials, resource consent and labour to do it.

Location-wise, think about things like:

  • School zoning if you have a young family
  • How close you want to be to work or family
  • Whether you prefer a quiet, leafy suburb, or the convenience of inner city living
  • If you’d like to be near public transport or main arterial routes.

For more tips on what to consider as you embark on the exciting journey to home ownership, download the Lugtons Guide for first home buyers.

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