Boathouse Bay's developers were right in thinking that creating a community of beachfront homes that didn't cost several million dollars would be popular. But they are surprised at the response as the project has advanced.

Homes are available from $808,000, with 20 of 33 properties already sold off the plans. The community has been designed by Ken Crosson and landscaped by Rachel de Lambert, of Boffa Miskell. All homes will have views of the water and either three bedrooms or two bedrooms plus study.

Mat Peters, from developers Special Project Teams, says: "When you go through a development you always get surprises along the way, things that you didn't see.

"Everything's selling well but we've been surprised at the fact that the houses at the back are selling quite quickly. I think the reason for that is their connection to the bush."

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Front houses will sit in dunes built to create natural protection and privacy. Those further back will have sea views with newly planted natives complementing bush on the hillside behind them.

Mat says: "When we bought the site we were overawed by the view. The view to Kawau Island is unbelievable and the headland's quite beautiful as well

"We cleared the site and put in 8000cu m of soil to build it up.

"Then we could see these homes alongside the bush were going to feel so much more special than just a normal subdivision with a back fence. Here you've got the bush and the sea."

As a result, they changed some layouts, moving master bedrooms with big windows to the rear of the second floor to maximise their connectivity to the bush.

In keeping with the relaxed 'holiday' atmosphere they wanted, homes will be laid out in informal groups reminiscent of a campground rather than in regimented rows.

Single or double-level houses with their skillion roofs will look like boathouses; two three-level homes will mimic surf lifesaving towers. Exterior aluminium cladding will cope with seaside conditions.

Mat says: "Ken's architecture is a work of art. I love the fact that he's created this uniformity and yet he's utilised the play of the materials and shape and form to create a subtlety of individuality."

Interiors will feature Matisse kitchens, timber floors, soaring ceilings and clean, simple lines, looking out through large picture windows.

Properties have been designed to be low maintenance, without lawn and with large decks for outdoor living. There will be a shared lawn at the front of the community for children to play.

Buyers who've been to get-togethers are already starting to form friendships. Mat says it's been rewarding seeing how excited buyers are.

"They're saying this is the sort of place they've always dreamed of."

They tend to be people who will live here permanently, mainly retirees. About 60 per cent live outside the area.

The developers wanted to respect the natural environment and have planted thousands of plants and trees to create natural drifts of vegetation.

Boathouse Bays is around 50 minutes drive from Auckland and handy to Matakana and Warkworth.

The development has services in place and expects building consents before the end of the year. Building is scheduled to start next March with the first homes to be delivered nine months later.

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FACT BOX
Boathouse Bay at Snells Beach features 33 homes with 13 remaining in a new beachfront development designed by Ken Crosson and landscaped by Rachel de Lambert of Boffa Miskell. Building consents are expected by the year-end.

OPTIONS: There are seven types of dwellings at Boathouse Bay, all with either three bedrooms or two bedrooms plus study and two bathrooms. Lot sizes range from 96sq m to 226sq m. House sizes range from 105sq m to 170sq m. Most houses come with two parking spaces available as internal access garaging, parking spaces or separate garages.

PRICING: $808,000 to $1,605,000.

SOCIETY LEVY: $583 to $1144 a year.

SCHOOLS: Snells Beach Primary, Mahurangi College.

CONTACT: Claire Boggiss, Colliers International, 027 505 5250

Find out more about this property on: boathousebay.co.nz