Push for specialty homes in Bay

By David Porter

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Keith Hay's 143sq m Horizon model was transported to Mystery Creek Fieldays as one unit.
Keith Hay's 143sq m Horizon model was transported to Mystery Creek Fieldays as one unit.

Keith Hay Homes, one of the leading builders of transportable homes, has identified the Bay of Plenty as a key region for growth over the next 10 years, and has appointed Steven Farrant as the new manager for the region.

"We provide a vast selection of residential homes, baches and holiday homes, rural workers' accommodation, minor dwellings, commercial and education buildings," says general manager Mathew Hay.

"We have had an operation based out of Te Puke for years, but we looked at the market and felt there was an opportunity to ramp up our operation, hence Steven's appointment."

Mr Farrant's background includes creating Candles of New Zealand and Flicker Ltd with his wife Nicola, which they sold earlier this year to National Candles Group.

Steven won the Rocket! Young Business Owner of the Year Award (2011); the company won the Westpac Business Award for Social Responsibility and Community Service and were finalists for Innovation (2010).

Mr Farrant has a background in property. Before setting up his own companies in the Bay of Plenty, he worked in Europe for a leading property asset management company.

He has been working for the past two years as a consulting general manager to a building and construction company based in Auckland.

The Bay of Plenty office is based in Te Puke, where the company builds for the local market, and Mr Farrant's territory covers the wider region, including Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo.

Mr Hay said the company saw potential in the coastal sector, with councils becoming more aware nationally of erosion problems and possible flooding issues. They were seeing advantages in transportable buildings and also asking for houses to be built higher above the ground, which suited Keith Hay's approach which usually utilised wooden piles rather than concrete pad foundations, he said.

The rural farm worker accommodation market was also strong, said Mr Hay. He noted that the company had seen farmers - especially in the dairy sector - moving to acquire larger homes for its workers and managers. They had moved from 85sq m homes to 105sq m average sized homes for farm workers, and were now buying top-of-the-range houses for farm managers, he said.

"They are looking at the going rate for a good manager, and rather than trying to pay above the market rate they are trying to attract top people by providing better houses," he said.

"And that improves the value of the farm as well."

Keith Hay took part in the recent Fieldays at Mystery Creek, showing their 143sq m Horizon model, designed by Architex NZ, and had generated enquiries, including several from the Bay of Plenty region, said Mr Hay.

"We think we can do well in the region," said Mr Farrant. "We are blessed in the Bay of Plenty with a range of potential opportunities for the types of building we produce."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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