Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Construction boom revs up

Nation's busiest house builder expects to erect around a third more homes this year.

A simple single-level house on a flat site can be built in 12 to 14 weeks and growth is coming from many areas, say Grant Porteous and his wife, Ellie, from GJ Gardner.
A simple single-level house on a flat site can be built in 12 to 14 weeks and growth is coming from many areas, say Grant Porteous and his wife, Ellie, from GJ Gardner.

The country's busiest house builder expects to put up a third more homes this year and could build more than 1000.

With Christchurch and Auckland suffering severe housing shortages, Grant Porteous of Albany-headquartered national builder GJ Gardner said the company's franchisees built 694 houses last year but he expects at least 920 this year.

But it could be more than that and he said the industry yardstick What's On Report showed slightly more houses were built by the firm in the past year.

"For the year ending March 31, 2013, we commenced 694 homes - I say commenced as we measure a home when we actually place the floor slab. We measure a sale on a full signed contract.

"For this year ending March 31, 2014, I'd estimate 920 [houses] or thereabouts. Our reports will come from the team in April.

"This is based on the fact that we had completed 842 slabs or floors to the end of February this year, although What's On Report shows us at 831 for same period.

"We did 85 floors in February with strong sales pre-Christmas and in January and February, so I'd expect 80 or so for March.

"Our franchise team has advised a budget for the period April 2014 to March 2015 of just over 1100 new houses. I'm always conservative so will probably put my assessment in at 1050," Porteous said.

What's On showed Christchurch-headquartered Stonewood Homes ranked second to GJ Gardner, building 690 houses in the year to February, followed by another Christchurch company, Mike Greer Homes, with 645 new places.

Porteous said his franchisees could build a simple single-level house on a flat site within just 12 to 14 weeks and growth was coming from many areas.

"It's been spread across the major centres.

"We have a new franchise in Whangarei and we've increased business in Tauranga. The Hamilton market has grown. Rodney has been dominant.

"We've only recently established a second franchise in Christchurch so are very confident we will grow there significantly in the next 12 months," he said.

Australian-headquartered GJ Gardner started in New Zealand in 1998 and Porteous said it would complete its 10,000th home this year.

- NZ Herald

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