The first of 27 KiwiBuild homes are on the market for people needing affordable housing in the Western Bay of Plenty.

KiwiBuild representatives, Classic Builders and Western Bay of Plenty District Council made the announcement in Ōmokoroa yesterday, offering a tour of the area and the homes which have been described as a New Zealand first.

The two-bedroom and three-bedroom standalone homes are being built as part of Classic Builders' development site Kaimai Views. A total of 242 properties are being built on 15ha originally bought by the council and made available to Classic Builders under a Special Housing Accord last year.

Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber said he hoped the project could become an example to other parts of the country.

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"There are so many blocks of land around New Zealand that are sitting there not being utilised that could be turned into development land. Why aren't other councils looking at this?"

Webber said the project was the Special Housing Accord with affordability targets written in the contract in New Zealand.

Announcement of the first KiwiBuild homes in Tauranga at the Kaimai Views development in Ōmokoroa. Photo / George Novak
Announcement of the first KiwiBuild homes in Tauranga at the Kaimai Views development in Ōmokoroa. Photo / George Novak

"When we first started talking about a Special Housing Accord, it didn't go down very well with people. They thought we would be building slums, etc. But we wanted a flagship development and we have it.

"We are really proud of this subdivision."

Webber said the aim was to provide affordable housing for people such as first-home buyers normally shut out of the market.

The KiwiBuild homes will be priced at $500,000 or less, below the median Western Bay house price of $655,000. People will be about to move into the homes from as early as next month.

Classic Builders director Peter Cooney said the homes would not have been possible without the collaboration between the council, Government and themselves.

KiwiBuild helped fast-track the homes by at least 12 months, he said.

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"It has worked extremely well."

Cooney said affordability was the team's key objective and demand was "really, really strong".

Despite more than 6000 people registering their interest in a local KiwiBuild home, the availability of the houses will be down to usual house purchase processes.

KiwiBuild head of delivery Helen O'Sullivan said a ballot for the homes had not been ruled out, but would not be used in the first instance.

"I think this is a great model for the way we can work."

Tauranga City Council's general manager of strategy and growth, Christine Jones, confirmed the council was involved in some preliminary discussions about KiwiBuild, associated with the potential development of surplus Crown or council land in the city.

"These discussions are at a very early stage and are without commitment to any housing development, therefore no further details are available at this time."

The Ōmokoroa homes will join a total of 46 built by Classic Builders in Whangarei and Canterbury as part of KiwiBuild.

To buy a KiwiBuild home, you must be a first-home buyer or "second chancer" (a previous property owner without large assets). You will also need to:
• be at least 18 years old
• be a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or a resident visa holder who is ordinarily resident in New Zealand
• have an income of less than $180,000 a year for two or more buyers, or $120,000 a year for a single buyer
• intend to own and live in the home for at least three years