Empty nesters spark building boost

By Ellen Irvine

 Empty nesters selling their family home in favour of building a new house are boosting construction in Tauranga.

Retired couples wanting to downsize and ''up-spec'' into modern homes are turning to building.

Jennian Homes Bay of Plenty sales manager Mark Affleck said in addition to younger couples and families looking to get into the housing market, Jennian had received many inquiries from retired couples.

''We get a lot of our business from empty nesters with a budget in mind. Their emphasis tends to be on the quality and character of their new home, and ease of living rather than purely size,'' he told the

''Families we deal with are usually looking to build value-formoney larger homes to accommodate their changing needs as children get older.''

Mr Affleck said the trend included couples in their 50s, 60s and 70s, who were mainly Tauranga locals moving within the market - often to Papamoa and Mount Maunganui.


'They are selling the family home and picking a nice spot, and getting an easy-care section and the house they want.

''They know what they want. They have built or renovated in the past, and have the budget. They are not necessarily building a 250m2 palace, but are doing it nicely, spending a bit of money on the kitchen and bathroom.

''For most of them, we are having to allow space for caravans or motorhomes or boats down the side. They want to be out and about doing stuff and not necessarily looking after a big house and section.''

Retirees in the lower North Island were often interested but ''couldn't afford Tauranga''.

Kirsty McConnell, owner of GJ Gardner Tauranga franchise, had al s o noti c ed t he t r end. Mrs McConnell said it had become more pronounced in the last year, particularly in Papamoa and Mount Maunganui.

''It seems to be couples with larger homes, whose children have grown and moved out. They are looking to downsize to a more maintenance-free home/section to free up their time to enjoy a better lifestyle.

''Because they live in the Bay, they still have children coming back for holidays or visitors coming to stay, so we take considerations in the home design, with guest wings or bathrooms adjoining spare bedrooms.

''Their home is probably five to 15 years old and they want a brand new modern home that promotes a healthier living environment.''

Features such as double glazing, higher-grade insulation, and the latest kitchen and bathroom fitouts were important to them, Mrs McConnell said.

Another attraction close to friends.

''We see them buying sections in the newer subdivisions to be closer to their friends or family

was living who already live McConnell said.

Craig Williams, owner of Signature Homes Tauranga, said many retirees building in the Western Bay had sold farms and were moving from rural areas.

Some couples from Waihi were building in Katikati and Lynley Park in Omokoroa, he said.

''They are choosing to go there as it's more of a country community,'' Mr Williams said.

Bucking the trend is Golden Homes, whose sales consultant, Paul Jackson, said there had been a reduction in older clients as many instead chose retirement villages.

However, there had been plenty of interest from first-home buyers, Mr Jackson said.

''They are looking at existing homes and seeing with a build they are getting a brand new house and have nothing to worry about.

''The banks are making it work f or t hem with 95 per c ent mortgages. People are wanting to look at house and land packages.''

Popular areas to build in were The Lakes, Golden Sands, Ballintoy Park in Welcome Bay, and isolated sections in Rowesale and Annandale, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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