Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Mayor: Where new homes could go

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Rotorua's lack of new subdivisions has reached "crisis point" according to one Rotorua building company while real estate agents say if the district wants to grow we need new houses soon.

During the recent election mayor Steve Chadwick promised that up to 1000 new residential sections and five new subdivisions would soon be available in the district. Today she tells the Rotorua Daily Post where some of those may go.

After the council's campaign - "Love, Life. Live Rotorua" - was launched to attract Aucklanders to the district, some local commentators have questioned where new arrivals would live, given the shortage of new homes or subdivisions available to build on.

In response, Mrs Chadwick said 57 new sections would become available in the near future - a 33-lot subdivision in Collie Drive that has been recently granted resource consent - and a further 24 lots at the Baxendale subdivision in Springfield that are going through the consent process now.

"Growth is part of the solution to housing and employment issues we face and now, when we're getting a bit of growth and our economy is doing well, is the time to build on that momentum."

She said the now operative District Plan and decisions like dropping the eastern arterial route have created certainty for landowners and developers and there was a significant amount of residential zoned land with potential for more than 1000 lots, depending on landowner and developer decisions.

"There's potential for a large number of lots above Pukehangi Rd, eastside on the Wharenui Block, which is a two-stage development, and above Lynmore, plus potential for more development in some existing subdivisions.

"The market is responding to Rotorua's positive economy and based on the level of interest, more applications are expected," she said.

GJ Gardner Homes Rotorua sale consultant Trevor Newbrook said it took years for new subdivisions to come up for sale and Rotorua was at "crisis point" when it came to new land to build on.

He said the campaign was a great idea but, "it's not just Aucklanders wanting to build here, it's people from Tauranga and Hamilton, and they need somewhere to live".

"If there's nowhere for these people coming to Rotorua to live and it's increasingly hard to find a section to build on it should be of grave concern to people who want to build or set up a businesses here," he said.

"These subdivisions take years to complete, they don't just happen right away.

"If there is nothing, they will find an alternative place. People won't wait a year, two years or five years on the off chance something will become available.

"It's passed being a concern or a shortage of sections, it's a critical shortage and it needs to happen immediately, not in the near future."

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said the chamber had regularly said Rotorua needed more residential and commercial development.

"It's nice we have 57 new sections that could come to market reasonably soon, but we are going to need more with the growth we are experiencing.

"There is potential and there will be sections drip fed to the market as demand occurs.

"These people who are land-banking need to get out there and do it, because now is the time to do it," Mr Walsh said.

Professionals McDowell Real Estate Rotorua principal Steve Lovegrove said Rotorua was seeing a lack of stock and needed expansion to modern urban areas.

He said that meant new subdivisions and people subdividing existing properties.

"It's important that we don't hold off and Rotorua as a city does that."

He said it was also important for perception and people seeing Rotorua as a modern city.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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