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Lending hold-up: A render of the exterior of the first of three planned Toru apratment buildings at Remarkables Park

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Singles or couples can pay as little as $200,000 to secure assisted home ownership in a new Queenstown apartment building.

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust owns 50 of the 78 units in the first building of the Toru complex below Frankton’s Remarkables Park Town entre, which was completed this week.

The trust’s putting 25 one- and two-bedroom apartments into its ‘secure home’ programme, which this year attracted a government interest-free loan of $6.35 million.

Another 15 are going into public housing, six are being sold on the open market and the balance are being retained as affordable rentals or rent-to-buy units.

Of the secure home units, about 15 have been spoken for.

Under the programme, the trust retains ownership of the unit, however the purchaser has a ‘right to occupy’ under a 100-year lease and pays only a small ground rent on the ‘land value’ of the unit — about $70 a week.

Trust executive officer Julie Scott says the cheapest one-bedders are going for $200,000 (average $220,000) with a deposit of only 5%, or just 10,000, if someone qualifies for the government’s First Home Loan.

Not only is it ‘‘really affordable’’, she notes, but you get ‘‘security of tenure’’, you pay less than renting, ‘‘and at the end of the day you’re paying off your own mortgage’’.

The cheapest price for a two-bedder is $300,000 (average $320,000).

Till now, the trust’s built mainly three-bedroom homes.

Land it gets from developers ‘‘typically isn’t that conducive for building one- or two-bedroom units’’, Scott says.

Apartment living: The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust’s putting 25 one- and two-bedroom apartments into its ‘secure home’ programme

However, on its waiting list of about 600 households, she notes about 25% are singles.

‘‘Then by the time you add couples and single parents with, say, one child, that’s more than half our waiting list.

‘‘One of the reasons we signed up to purchase [50] apartments was because we really support the concept of this high-density apartment living, and in Queenstown there’s just not enough of it.

‘‘I think in Queenstown we need to be thinking about going up, not out, so much.’’

As usual, Scott says they’re trying to attract locals in key roles like teachers, nurses and cops, especially those starting out and not earning so much, to try to keep them in town when otherwise property’s so pricey.

Under the government’s funding, the trust also has to target Maori and Pasifika households.

The 15 units it’s allocating for public housing are also targeting low earners, including retirees without assets, who’d otherwise struggle to pay rent.

Roy Thompson, from Toru developer New Ground Capital, says the relationship with the housing trust ‘‘has been fantastic’’.

‘‘Having them onboard early helped us to stand up the feasibility of the whole project, and hopefully it’s been a real win-win-win together with their ultimate tenants and residents.’’

He’s also delighted with the building job by Naylor Love — at seven levels, it’s conceivably Queenstown’s tallest building.

He’s happy, too, that the building’s ‘‘very, very well-insulated’’, so heating costs will be low.

Thompson’s company also has consent to build two more buildings which it would rent out to employers and individuals.

However, it’s taking its time as, post-Covid, some of the pressure’s come off the rental market, especially with Airbnb properties going into long-term rentals.

‘‘We’re expecting the rental market will tighten up again, so we’re still confident about the opportunity to do large-scale rental accommodation there.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz