A Kawaha Point Villa buyer has described the "suffering" his young family has been through after their life savings were tied up in a two-and-a-half-year wait for their first home.
The buyer, who spoke on condition they were not named, said the wait had crippled their spending and meant they had to raise their toddler in a small unit.
He had been one of the first people to sign a contract to secure a Kawaha Point Villa in February 2018.
Kawaha Point Villas was a 26-plot subdivision on Ian St aimed at first-home buyers and was set to be made up of two- to three-bedroom houses priced at $499,000.
The development began in 2017 and spearheaded by FHB Group Ltd.
After two years of delays, construction officially began last August. However, after bill payments were missed the pin was pulled on the project in November.
On April 7, FHB Group Ltd was placed into receivership.
The buyer, 32, told the Rotorua Daily Post he and his wife used all their life savings for the $45,000 deposit in 2018 and hoped they could have moved out of their small rental unit with their then 18-month-old soon after.
He was told he would have a house by December 2018 but before long delays began.
He said he and his wife were understanding at the start because they knew they were getting a new house. But after more than a year, their patience waned.
Over this time, he and his wife were not able to change jobs, upgrade their low-quality car, or do anything involving life changes because the bank's loan conditions would not allow it.
He said he was constantly being told things were happening and at the start of this year, they decided to take a trip overseas.
He was told the house would be built and ready to be moved into by the time he was home.
He and his then-pregnant wife packed up their unit completely. Boxes were ready to go and they even sold items they thought would not be useful in the new house.
They arrived back in Rotorua two months later to find the plot of land completely empty.
"My family and I are suffering. I feel so stupid in front of them."
He said he was not told about the receivership and was constantly getting different information about when he could cancel his contract or get his money back.
He said he no longer wanted to move on to the property because there were "too many bad memories" associated with it and he just wanted his money back so he could be done with it.
"We've lost all our dreams and hopes," he said.
"I will fight this in court for another year if I have to.''
Ten other remaining buyers of the plots had been left waiting to find out whether they will get their money back or have their houses built.
The company also owned land on Frank St, adjacent to the Ian St site. However, there were no consents obtained for this site.
FHB Group Ltd managing director Rob Davies told the Rotorua Daily Post he had been trying to get the contracts cancelled under the clause that not enough "reasonable progress" had been made on the site in the two years since consents were issued.
However, since roading and other civil works had been completed last November, the receivers had argued this was sufficient progress, he said.
He said, in his view: "It's not fair at all ... they could have the contracts cancelled and money released by the end of the day if they wanted to."
The contracts officially expire on December 31 this year, he said, and he did not understand how any progress could be made in four months.
The buyer said he had not been told that contracts would expire on this date.
Steven Khov and Kieran Jones were appointed as joint receivers and issued their first report on the company in June.
The report stated that 11 buyers had signed sale contracts with deposits paid to an "independent solicitor's trust account".
Both the Ian St and Frank St lots had been marketed on TradeMe and had received "considerable interest from local developers with 19 separate parties expressing an
interest in the sale", the report said.
The receivers had elected to accept an offer from a party that had achieved a
gross sale price across both properties of $3.3 million.
Receiver Kieran Jones said he and Khov were working toward providing a solution that would result in the development buyers getting completed builds.
He said they had entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with a developer who would take over the development and progress to completion. This would be settled in the coming days.
"We understand the position of the buyers in the development but we think the sale of the development will provide them with a solution they will find beneficial and result in completed homes. "
Davies said he would have to pay additional costs accrued over time on top of the sale price.
Unsecured creditors were owed $1.2 million, but the report stated it appeared there would be a "shortfall" to these creditors.
FHB Group had about $90,000 worth of vehicles, $4000 in the bank and about $7200 in furniture and computer equipment at the time of receivership.