New-look affordable: Dennis Dowling's The Warm House Company has entered the affordable housing market, building three-bedroom healthy homes for under $400,000


DCD Ltd’s best known for its high-end, multi-million-dollar builds around Queenstown.

But its director, Dennis Dowling, is now diving into the affordable housing market.

Dowling, originally from Florida, in the United States, launched The Warm House Company
earlier this year, building three-bedroom properties which are airtight, triple-glazed, have ventilation systems, timber floors and Miele appliances, for ‘‘sub-$400,000’’.

‘‘It’s something I’ve always wanted to be involved in — I grew up incredibly poor, so I always think everybody deserves to have a high-performing home, irrespective of the size of their chequebook.’’

Dowling says, through DCD, they looked at doing affordable homes a few years ago, but
couldn’t get the two business models to work well together.

But when an opportunity presented itself last year, he decided to form The Warm House Co, which is already hitting the right spot with both first-home buyers and ‘‘ethical investors’’, wanting to build healthy rental properties.

They’ve recently finished a Warm House build in Wānaka, another custom-designed one’s
underway at Jack’s Point and two ‘‘very simple’’ Warm Houses are on the way at Hanley’s Farm.

‘Everybody deserves a high-performing home’: The Warm House Company boss Dennis Dowling

He’s kept the price down, in part, by having a secure supply chain — as much as possible is
sourced from within New Zealand, while windows come from Germany — and a ‘‘relatively
simple floorplan’’.

‘‘It’s kind of like trying to do production housing but for individual clients.

‘‘We’re not trying to compete with the group home company, in terms of offering the most amount of space for the least amount of money.

‘‘We’re trying to offer the highest-quality home, in the most efficient way possible.

‘‘We want homes that people really enjoy and love, that are high-quality, but the price point is accessible.’’

The homes, which come in just under 100 square metres, with a garage additional, should perform the way DCD’s luxury properties do, he says.

‘‘There’ll be lower instances of sickness, a reduction in any respiratory issues, there’ll be constant fresh air coming into your homes, and you’ll have far lower energy bills.’’

The triple glazing will also make homes quieter inside and provide ‘‘greater separation’’ from neighbours, meaning the end result is a ‘‘much nicer home environment to be in’’.

‘‘We’re only looking for customers who are looking for what we do.

‘‘People have to be focused on wanting to build something that has an overall lower carbon footprint for the life of the building, they’ve got to be interested in being warm and being ventilated and being airtight, and if they have those pieces in place then we can deliver the rest of it.’’

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