News and Publications

Property News: 12 March 2018

Prefabs: The future of NZ housing

The success of the Government’s Kiwibuild plan will require New Zealand to embrace factory-made homes that can be trucked in pieces to building sites and erected in a matter of days.

On Thursday, Prefab NZ, an industry association of housing prefabricators, will release a report into the industry’s capacity to turn out houses for Kiwibuild.

It will also launch a nationwide competition seeking a design for a tiny one to two-bedroom house plan that could be "pre-consented" by local authorities. Homeowners with big enough gardens could simply parachute the structures onto their land.

The tiny house would be called "The Snug", said Pamela Bell, Prefab NZ’s chief executive.

Bell would not share the report’s detailed conclusions, but said that for prefabrication to achieve scale under Kiwibuild, the Government would have to look at measures to give prefab companies the confidence to invest.

This could include low interest or no-interest loans, as well as guarantees of volumes so they could plan their investment in new factories.

Bell said tiny homes were part of the housing solution, and expected architects and designers would contribute ideas.

More one and two-bedroom houses were needed, both for youngsters starting out in life, as well as older people looking for smaller dwellings.

Bell said CRESA, the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment, estimated that as many as 180,000 homes could be made quickly on existing back yards.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 5 March 2018)

New restoration group formed to retain historic Golden Bay grandstand

The work to retain and restore the Golden Bay grandstand has been taken over by a newly formed entity.

The eight members of the Golden Bay Restoration Society are now working with the Tasman District Council (TDC) on the relocation and restoration of the historic building.

Chair Noel Baigent said the restoration group recently reached a compromise with the council to shift the building 18 metres forward in front of the existing squash court.

"This would allow the same viewing platform of the original site and retaining the 300 undercover seats for spectators of both sporting events and the annual A&P Show," he said.

Baigent said previous negotiations between council and the Golden Bay Grandstand Community Trust had failed to reach agreement to retain the grandstand in situ.

The footprint of the grandstand would be cleared to allow the building of car parks required for the new facility and the completion of drainage and other works.

Demolition work on the concrete squash court and back extension was expected to start in the next month.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 5 March 2018)

Work to start on Boathouse

The Boathouse is commencing rebuilding work this week after ex-cyclone Fehi forced the building to close down.

Boathouse manager Ali Howard said the heritage building luckily didn’t receive additional damage with ex-cyclone Gita.

During ex-cyclone Fehi the wooden deck at the roadside entrance and the deck at the side of the building broke away.

Howard said a big part of the work that needed to be done to the building was "future proofing", which wasn’t covered by insurance.

Howard asked the public for their ideas on how to protect the historic building for future extreme weather events by emailing

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 5 March 2018)

$1m shortfall for School of Music

Hidden structural work and a surprise asbestos find mean the earthquake strengthening project at the Nelson School of Music is seriously underfunded.

The shortfall in funding is estimated to be $900,000, which the board of trustees is "urgently" seeking funding and donations to cover.

Board chair Roger Taylor said the surprise findings were fairly typical for heritage buildings. There were some underlying structural issues which needed to be fixed, and a "small amount" of asbestos, which had to be safely removed and disposed of.

Taylor said the amount of steel used in underground strengthening beams in previous upgrades was insufficient, despite being signed off, and the design had to change to include more steel.

The School of Music was renamed as the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts to better reflect what it does, but the auditorium will remain known as the Nelson School of Music Auditorium.

The upgrade and restoration was granted $1.5 million by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture in 2016, and had an original budget of $8m. The budget now sits at about $9.5m.

The project was focused on restoring the original facade, earthquake strengthening of the auditorium, and general upgrades and improvements, including an environmentally controlled storage room for the Steinway piano.

Despite the recent setbacks, the project is still on track for the opening scheduled in April.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 7 March 2018)

Fears water allocation will affect Springs

A campaigner fears irrigation consents could be rushed through before an order to protect one of the country’s clearest freshwater springs is complete.

The process to protect the aquifer that feeds Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay with a Water Conservation Order (WCO) is underway.

However, a campaigner for Save Our Springs, Kevin Moran, said he was worried the Tasman District Council (TDC) could grant water consents to dairy farmers before the order was complete.

The TDC has said that Moran’s claims are unfounded and it had received only one consent application, which had been placed on hold.

Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand and contain some of the clearest water measured anywhere in the world.

WCOs are put in place by the Government to protect a water body’s outstanding natural qualities.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 9 March 2018)

Nelson Fixer-uppers fetching lower prices

Homes that need repairs are starting to fetch lower prices in Nelson as the housing market cools, according to valuations company Quotable Value.

House values in Nelson were still growing faster than in most other parts of the country, up 10.5 per cent on same time last year to an average of $567,676, the latest QV House Price Index showed.

Values in the Tasman District also continued to rise, up 12.9 per cent to $565,643.

More buyers were now asking to to take the cost of repairs off the purchase price. "So a few deals are falling over because of properties that do have that deferred maintenance aspect."

Last month, separate sales volumes figures showed Nelson had the biggest percentage annual rise nationwide in the number of properties sold.

The data, from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), showed volumes in Nelson were up 28 per cent in January compared to the year before. Seventy eight homes sold over the month, compared to 61 in January 2017, with 44 sales compared to 38 in Tasman; the third highest percentage rise nationally.

REINZ put the median house price at $510,000 in Nelson, and $550,000 in Tasman.

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 10 March 2018)

Thought for the Week

There is only one rule for being a good talker - learn to listen.

(Christopher Morley)