Modest homes beating mansions in house awards should spur building re-think

Modest homes beating mansions in house awards should spur building re-think
August 25, 2014

Homebuyers have been given a compelling argument to choose a new build over major renovations, with the latest Registered Master Builder House of the Year results.

A leading industry advisor says several top accolades awarded to new homes in the $350,000 to $450,000 bracket of the prestigious awards prove that you do not need to build a million-dollar mansion to have a supreme home built with craftsmanship. That opens up exciting opportunities for people who might have thought a quality new home was out of their budget, says Richard Gough, General Manager of industry authority Future-Proof Building.

“These results show that you can get a quality family home at an affordable price – a fixed price with a 10-year guarantee. Compare that to a major renovation that is difficult to get a fixed price for because you are not really sure about the scale of the job until you open up the house, and the result is half an old house and half a new one that will need more work in the foreseeable future.”

The last of the 11 Registered Master Builders House of the Year regional awards were announced last Friday [subs: Friday, August 22], across New Zealand three regions took the Supreme Award for homes in the $350,000 to $450,000 bracket selected above homes that included $1million-plus builds. Two of those Supreme Award winners also won Craftmanship accolades.

The awards are categorised by build costs only, and do not include the land. That the more affordable supreme award winners come from outside major cities – Mid/South Canterbury, Waikato and Manawatu/Wanganui – does not negate the same standard applying in metropolitan areas, Gough says.

With the Auckland house price average reaching an all-time high of $732,240 in June according to real estate blog Unconditional, Gough suggests people should look to buy sections in greenfield sites, or a less pristine property where house removal is an option.

“Find the right land and you can be far better off. Either purchase a section, or buy a property and have the house taken away. Often house removers will pay to take it. I don’t know why more people don’t consider doing it,” Gough says.

“You get a brand new home to suit your needs. Or spend less for an older house and invest $100,000 on doing it up, and get something that isn’t quite right. It won’t be nearly as liveable.

“The $350,000 to $450,000 bracket is a modest amount for a superb family home. The difference between a $450,000 home and a million-dollar one often comes down to the complexity of the build – a flat section or a steep one with limited access – the number of rooms, how many storeys, choice of materials and your budget. You can have a $6,000 kitchen or a $60,000 one.”

Future-Proof Building provides advice and solutions to build homes that meet owner’s needs now and in the years to come. Made up of the market leaders, its advice and solutions are segmented into eight smart principles including know-how on spatial design, health and safety, sustainability, and being energy smart.

Judging criteria for each property includes whether the home demonstrates planning for the future, whether it ensures the ongoing maintenance and operating costs are sustainable, and whether the property has good air flow and passive ventilation.

To view Future-Proof Building showhomes from a range of building companies, including virtual tours and e-books, go to www.fpb.co.nz.

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