The new developer of a long-delayed Rotorua affordable housing development is vowing to get construction going in the next couple weeks with hopes of having the homes built in six months.
But one buyer still wants his money back saying the two-and-a-half-year wait has been nothing but a "nightmare".
The development, formerly known as Kawaha Point Villas, is a 26-plot subdivision on Ian St aimed at first-home buyers. It was established in 2017 and plans were for two to three-bedroom houses priced at $499,000.
A number of the lots sold quickly, however, many buyers pulled out as constant delays meant the project did not get off the ground.
Then after more than two years with little work done, the developer FHB Group Ltd was placed into receivership.
Now with a new business spearheading the project, the 12 remaining buyers could be in their houses within six months.
Marcus Jacobson, trading under Rotowhare Limited, had bought the development with plans to rebrand and start building the houses in the next couple of weeks.
Jacobson was working with the Rotorua Lakes Council and had local builders waiting in the wings ready to get the ball rolling, he told the Rotorua Daily Post Weekend.
But first, he planned to rebrand the site and throw out the name Kawaha Point Villas for a "clean slate".
He couldn't reveal what the development would be renamed yet.
He understood the buyers were legally bound to their contracts and could not cancel due to sufficient work such as roading and drainage being completed on the site.
When asked what he would say to buyers desperate to get out of their contracts, he said "if you can hold on, hold on a couple more weeks" as he believed the houses would be sitting at a much higher value than what they originally paid.
Their team was currently working to contact each individual buyer, he said.
Since the main infrastructure works were done, and the houses were all single level builds, he said a six-month timeframe was realistic.
Jacobson had worked on a number of developments around Auckland, developing hundreds of homes and units with Watchman Capital.
He said he planned to produce more developments in Rotorua once this was done due to a "shortage of housing stock" and "appetite for more development" in the city.
Former developer Rob Davies previously told the Rotorua Daily Post a lot of buyers had jumped on board when the subdivision first started in 2017. But some "lost patience" and pulled out.
Now one buyer says he just wants his money back.
Buyer Gurpreet Singh said he had been living a "nightmare" for the last two and a half years with his family's lives on hold with entire savings trapped in a Kawaha Point Villa contract.
He said he had expected buyers to be asked if they wanted to carry on under the new developers as he thought he would need to sign a new contract.
He said he had been hearing construction would start in two weeks for more than two years and he was "still sitting here with nothing".
"I've been through this already. I don't even want to live there, I have no good feelings about that place."
He said this sentiment was shared with a number of other buyers he knew and he was going through "so much stress" he "can't even think" straight.
He felt like they would still be sitting in their small unit with a newborn and a four-year-old in six months, he said, it made him mad as he said he would easily be able to afford a deposit for another house if his money was not tied up in the development.
Bayleys Rotorua branch manager Beth Millard said based on past experience, it was encouraging to see the developer's optimism around the six-month timeframe.
"I really hope he [Jacobson] can do what he is promising for the buyers' sakes."
Harcourts real estate agent Hielke Oppers said it would not be "unheard of" to get the development finished in six months but it would not come without "hoops to jump through".
He said getting it done could "only be good for the city" with the housing shortage it was facing and it was positive news.
Rotorua Lakes Council operations group manager Jocelyn Mikaere said they had met with Jacobson and discussed the next steps including possible design changes.
She said the site did have resource consent for the development of 26 houses and they were awaiting applications to vary these consents as well as building consent applications for amended designs.
"Our teams always endeavour to progress consents as quickly as possible ... there will be design duplications which means there will be efficiencies that will help to speed up the process for Mr Jacobson's development.
"Council is very motivated to get more housing in Rotorua to reduce the housing shortage."