Commitment to Affordable Homes
One of the Crown’s objectives for the Hobsonville Point land is to create affordable homes for Kiwis struggling to get their first foot on the property ladder. The initial Crown-led initiative was called ‘Gateway Housing’ and aimed at helping first time homeowners and those on low incomes into a house and land package.
Early innovation focused on high quality 95-100m2 homes on small lots designed within the townplanning rules of the time. These days affordable homes, now branded ‘Axis Series’, constitute 20% of all dwellings built at Hobsonville Point. Government stipulated criteria ensure they go to first home buyers. In 2014 HLC and AVJennings worked with Auckland Council to consent the Small Home Test Lab – three architect-designed, innovative small homes on a single 180m2 block – in order to research market demand for low-cost, high quality, compact homes.
The interior of the three bedroom Small Home Test Lab house.
Axis Series Homes
To provide opportunities for first homebuyers to get into the tough Auckland housing market HLC has committed to delivering 20% of all homes at Hobsonville Point at or beneath a stipulated price cap. Currently the cap is set at $550,000.
Eligibility criteria apply for these homes. For example, you have to be a first homebuyer with a household income of no greater than $120,000 per annum. Demand for the homes, which must meet the exacting quality standards of Hobsonville Point’s Design Review Panel, far outstrips supply. The popularity of the Axis Series homes is indicative of both their quality and of Auckland’s affordability problems, which the media has dubbed ‘the housing crisis’. A ballot system operates so that all eligible would-be buyers have an equal chance to buy an Axis Series home.
AVJennings’ Builder Partners at Hobsonville Point buy superlots knowing how many Axis Series homes they will be required to build. They must innovate to come up with typologies and construction methods that will allow them to deliver high quality homes at or beneath the price cap.
Axis Series homes are available in a range of sizes and typologies.
The Small Home Test Lab
In 1991, the floor area of the average standalone Auckland home was 144m2; in just over 20 years that has grown to 220m2. At the same time the average family size has been shrinking. According to Statistics NZ, by 2031, fifty per cent of households will be either single-person, or couples without children.
HLC, with support from AVJennings, decided to build three small but high quality homes on a compact site (just 180m2 for the three) then ask Aucklanders what they thought. The smallest – a single bedroom home – was just 40m2 and the largest – three bedrooms – was 89m2. More than 2,000 people visited the homes and completed a survey. We involved the building companies working at Hobsonville Point in the project and shared the results. Overall, 69% of respondents said they could see themselves comfortably living in one of the homes. The buyers who said they were in the market for a house under the $485,000 mark ranked the interior layout as the most important feature followed by location. Of the 14 factors they were asked to rank, section size came in last.
With these results we were able to demonstrate to the Builder Partners that the market would be open to buying smaller product at Hobsonville Point if it was well designed.
Each of the three homes have their own courtyard garden, despite being on a single 180m2 lot.
Next week we take a look at Hobsonville Point Road, the spine of the development and a focal point for the community.
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