It has been a project fraught with delays from the beginning with supply chain problems and Covid lockdowns and restrictions stalling progress, but the first homes in Rotorua's Mountview Green development are ready.
The section on Ian St was first earmarked for development in 2017 by FHB Group Ltd. But in mid-2020, with still no earthworks on the site, FHB went into receivership.
Developer and director of Rotowhare Limited Marcus Jacobson took over the development, marketing it as Mountview Green and earthworks and construction took place last year.
Now titles have been issued for the first 14 homes - eight KiwiBuild and six market homes – in stage one of the development and the first buyers are ready to move in.
One of the first eight KiwiBuild homeowners Jenna Keane said moving into her first home was a "hugely exciting" milestone in her life.
Keane, 28, who works in the sports industry, has bought the $485,000 KiwiBuild property on her own and currently rents with three other people.
She had looked into possible ways to get into her first home for some time.
She said after attending a Mountview Green information evening at the Novotel in Rotorua last year pursuing the purchase of a KiwiBuild home became a feasible option.
"I had some money saved. But I didn't even know whether I would be eligible for a KiwiBuild home and didn't want to get my hopes up," she said.
"It's been the easiest way for me to get on to the property ladder after flatting and renting with others since my university days."
Keane, who has lived in Rotorua since 2017, said she had originally intended to spend some of her savings to go overseas but Covid ruined those plans.
"I started looking to buy a property mid-way through 2020 ... And with no more OEs on the horizon for some time, I need to become an adult at some stage and went for it."
Keane said buying the property on her own was a "little bit daunting" because it was a lot of debt to take on by herself but her parents had been "really supportive".
"Owning my first own home is very exciting, especially knowing that no one can suddenly come along and ask me to move out which happens a lot when you're renting."
Venkat Anagani, 34, his wife Sowyne and their 20-month-old daughter Venya are counting the days until they can move into their KiwiBuild home on March 13.
They had been renting a two-bedroom unit for $300 a week but the rent was due to go up to $350 a week.
They started looking to buy for $550,000 early last year but couldn't find anything they liked within the budget.
"Buying a house is a lot of money so we didn't just want to settle for anything as this will be our forever home for us and our daughter."
They missed out on the first KiwiBuild ballot but were selected from the second ballot.
"We feel really lucky that our names were selected ... we had considered holding off buying for another year or two and keep on saving to increase our budget."
Their three-bedroom and two-bathroom Kiwibuild home sold for $485,000.
Meanwhile, developer Andrea Jacobson said earthworks were underway for the 60 homes in stage two at the Frank St end of the development and construction was due to start in a couple of months.
"It's all very exciting as this project has certainly been fraught with lots of delays from the beginning due to supply chain problems as well as Covid lockdowns and restrictions.
"I'm sure these homeowners can't wait for us to hand over the keys and neither can we."
The two-staged, $50 million project involves 26 homes in Ian St and another 60 in Frank St.
Jacobson said more homes on Ian St would be finished by March 3 and on Frank St 11 homes had already sold and three had offers.
"We only have one three-bedroom market home and four two-bedroom houses left in Ian St. And we will be running a ballot for some of the Frank St KiwiBuild homes in the next four to six weeks."
Jacobson said construction would start on the first homes in Frank St stage in a couple of months and they were expected to be finished by the third quarter of this year, depending on any delays due to ongoing supply issues and Covid.
"Finally getting the first set of people into their homes is an especially exciting milestone for us and these KiwiBuild homes will be the first in the Bay of Plenty region."
The entire development was expected to be completed by March/April next year, she said.