Queenstown building outlook rosy – franchisee

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Home-building companies will help spearhead the Wakatipu’s upcoming housing boom, a local company franchise owner says.

Darryn Wilkie, who bought the Landmark Central Otago franchise a year ago, believes the future’s rosy for companies like his.

“Australia’s seen it 10 years ago.

“The movement in New Zealand in the last five years has been a lot more to home-building companies.”

With section sales bouncing back in Queenstown-Lakes, house-building would be on the increase, Wilkie says.

“In looking at the last six months, things are starting to improve so I’d say the next five years are going to be reasonable for the industry.”

Wilkie took over the local Landmark franchise after the previous franchisee, who ran into financial problems, closed his business.

“I’ve been getting out there re-promoting it as a good long-term business.”

His business had picked up work in Wanaka, including a $1.5 million home, and is starting seven or eight Queenstown projects in the next two months – three or four at Jack’s Point, two at Quail Rise and one each in Frankton and in town.

Wilkie says the attraction for clients is a one-stop-shop, fixed-price contract and some cost efficiencies.

“The vast number of home-building companies are very sustainable – they’ve got a good product, ours especially, really good systems, good quality and we aspire to provide the customer a full turn-key solution.

“We kind of take control of the whole project and reduce the massive amount of stress for the owners. One of the big things too is a fixed-price contract – you essentially know where you are at the start of the build and at the end, aside maybe from variations or changes the clients make.”

On top of that, Wilkie says the Master Build guarantee means a client’s home will be finished off even if the home-building company has problems.

Because of deals with national suppliers, home-building companies can also offer a cheaper product, he says – “overall, we might be $50 to $100 a square metre more cost-effective”. 

Wilkie notes clients are wanting to spend more on insulating their house to make it more energy-efficient – for example, using thermally-broken slabs and windows and air-to-water heat pump systems rather than diesel or gas.

A lot are also using polished concrete to trap the heat in the floor.

Kitchens, he adds, are growing in size and there’s more tiling including half-height and full-height tiles in bathrooms.

Wilkie says Landmark focuses on medium- to high-end homes and prides itself on both the uniqueness of its designs and quality of its finishing. 

“We do a lot of customised designs as well,” Wilkie adds.