A developer has reassured a young Tauranga family they will be able to build their first home on a section they paid a deposit for more than two years ago.
Sheree Morrow and Kelvin Savage paid a $27,500 deposit for a house and land package on a 747sq m section in a new Pyes Pa Rd subdivision in September 2016, three years after moving to Tauranga from Hamilton.
When, two years later, it still did not have title, they came to the Bay of Plenty Times "desperate" for help, unsure even whether the development was going to go ahead at all.
Morrow said they had turned down offers from their building company, Venture Developments, to have their deposit back or move on to another section that was smaller and $60,000 more expensive.
The couple, who had three children aged 7, 3, and 6 months, could not afford the extra cost, nor to drop the project and buy again in today's market, she said.
"We are still hoping we can get this section."
Contacted by the Bay of Plenty Times, Venture Developments chief executive Jarod Thorpe said he was also frustrated and had never experienced a situation like this.
"Our hands are tied as much as hers are."
He said his company had entered into a contract with developer Velcro Investments, owned by Stephen Short, to build on the land once it was developed.
He said that, from his perspective, it was hard to get information out of the developer.
The company made dozens of attempts to contact Short through lawyers and directly through email over the two years but updates were sporadic at best.
He said their contract with Short had no sunset clause and even if it did, using it would mean the couple would lose their section.
Thorpe said the company had offered the couple options to get out of the contract, but he appreciated they wanted to stick with the section they signed on for.
"We will honour the contract. As soon as that land is developed, we are ready to build."
Stephen Short said the development at Pyes Pa Rd had been a challenging one with many delays but it would be finished and buyers did not need to worry.
He did not believe he was hard to get hold of, saying he was always available by phone.
One of the complications was consent to install septic tanks at the site being turned down, meaning a sewer line had to be run to the site, he said.
He expected the remaining work would be done by the end of the year and the sections would have title by March.
"The only thing left to do on site is the stormwater sewer connection and water connection which is coming across Pyes Pa Rd."
Morrow said the assurance gave her "hope" they would still be able to build their home.
The news was also welcomed by Reiss Jenkinson, who signed a contract to buy a section in the five-section subdivision in July, onsold from a previous buyer.
He said he was not too worried about the delay because he and his partner were cashed up from selling their previous home.
"We haven't even paid a deposit yet. We won't pay anything until we get title.
"The only stress is that the cost of building is rising, possibly faster than interest rates."
He said he had also found Short hard to get hold of as he rarely responded to emails.