The increasingly expensive dream of home ownership for young Tasman families will be one step closer to reality, thanks to local couple Jason and Ange Mudgway.
Jason and Ange, who are the directors of Mudgway construction, have decided to turn their lifestyle block into an affordable housing area, as a way of giving back to the community.
Jason started to have the idea to build affordable housing about a year ago, after staff members started moving away because of the cost of living.
“I looked at the situation,” he says, “A lot of tradesmen, teachers, and nurses just can’t afford to buy their first home anymore.”
Jason believes that industries are suffering because of the lack of affordable housing for young people and young families.
“I thought, ‘something has got to happen, someone needs to do something’.”
The proposed affordable housing area would be built on Mudgway’s land on the corner of Main Road Hope and White Road, and the sections, which would be on average about 511m2, would be capped at $295,000. They could start as low as $240,000, with overall costs staying below $500,000.
There would be conditions built in, like buyers having to live in the house for three years before they could sell, no renting, and housing groups and housing developers being banned from buying In the development in order to keep prices down.
The maximum house size would be 120 square metres with no garage and 140 square metres with a garage.
Jason knows what it’s like to be young and trying to make your way onto the property ladder.
“My first home was a small box in Palmerston North. It wasn’t much, but I had to work hard and work my way up, but there’s nowhere for families to start in this area.”
With two great schools, a community centre, a pre- school and a New World Supermarket proposed for Three Brothers Corner, plus the area’s short drive to Richmond, Jason says the location for the new development is “ideal”.
The idea for an affordable housing development would focus on young families who are struggling to get on the property ladder, but it’s not exclusive. The small, affordable houses would even be attractive for retirees who don’t want to spend all their savings on a big expensive build that they might not need.
“I’ve always wanted to give something back, and now I’ve got the chance to do something. We’re not here to be greedy.”
The Tasman District Council voted seven-five against recommending granting the Mudgway’s section be a Special Housing Area (SHA) in April.
However, the five who voted in favour of the SHA signed a motion May 30 to repeal the original decision and re-vote, with a seven-four vote to recommend the SHA to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development.
An SHA is an area of land suitable for new housing, where development can be fast-tracked through consenting powers provided by the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act.
They were set up to boost housing supply and improve affordability in the district by helping development that meets the needs of the growing population.
Under the act, the council has the ability to recommend a SHA to the minister of housing.
Jason says that it still has to get through the ministry, and if it does “we’ll push the go button right away and make it happen”.
Councillors who voted against the initial proposal cite the loss of productive land as their concern, but two councillors reconsidered after further research.
“People are saying that the land is productive farming land, but it’s a lifestyle block,” Jason says.
“It’s too small to be a market garden.”
“I’d rather trade the few bottles of wine we make a year for affordable housing for young families who are struggling to own a home of their own.”