CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF HOME - READ THE LATEST

We have come a long way from the original purpose of a house, which was to provide shelter and a home for those that live within its four walls. Thanks to a major shift, accelerated by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the prevailing view is that a house is an asset. This financialisation of housing comes at a huge cost to a large proportion of society who are left unable to afford a home, to buy or to rent.

We want to reverse this shift.

Since 2015, Home has been building developments with the primary purpose of providing homes for people, not assets for shareholders.

Begin with kōrero

To build for a community of people it’s vital a developer begins by engaging with all stakeholders; to hear and understand what the project means to them and the outcomes they envision.

- First and foremost, out of respect for the original tāngata whenua custodians of the land, we listen to the local iwi, so we understand their history and relationship to the land.

- Successful developments will fit the strategic planning for the area, so we meet with local government to find out their requirements and how the development will fit into the broader planning for the neighbourhood.

- If the development is in partnership with an external developer or a Community Housing Provider, we clarify what is going to work for their occupants.

This level of engagement takes time, but it sets the course of the development, it creates efficiencies later in the project and it’s the best route to where we want to arrive at the end – desired outcomes achieved for all.

For one of our Christchurch developments, The Residences at Karamū, we engaged with Ngāi Tahu, Christchurch City Council and Community Housing Providers first, to understand their requirements. Now in construction, 84 homes will be delivered within 19 months of land purchase. A time-efficient development coming out of genuine partnership.

People-first design

We want to go into design and planning with a clear understanding of who we’re building for and what ‘home’ looks like to them. This informs the architects, engineers, landscape designers, project managers and build partners as to what a successful development will be for the community. This approach results in houses that are treasured, that are welcomed, that become homes.

In Ōpōtiki, we have invested time to consult with local iwi Whakatōhea and the district council for our Pirirākau development, and we’re moving forward now as a team who share the same vision for what will be given to that community.

Liveable homes

Good health is foundational to a flourishing community, and the design and construction of our homes are carried out with this in mind. All our homes are built to a minimum of a 6 Homestar rating which is an independent rating tool for assessing the health, efficiency, and sustainability of homes across Aotearoa. We have adopted this and joined the Superhome movement to encourage the building code to improve its minimum standards towards healthier and easier to run homes.

Accessible pricing

Owning your own home should be accessible. Our friends at Habitat recently shared a story that re-enforces the importance of this. When bringing our homes to the market, we target a lower sale price for first home buyers and owner occupiers. Often opting for a smaller footprint, but built to a higher standard, these choices enable us to keep pricing accessible.

Diversity

It is important that our homes are available to a genuine cross-section of society. If we are building homes, not assets, then our industry has to do more to address inequalities in access to quality and secure housing. We are working to a 50/30/20 buyer ratio that ensures half our homes are sold to first home buyers and owner occupiers. 30% are reserved for Community Housing Providers who provide affordable, long-term leases to vulnerable members of our community. The remaining 20% is available to provide rentals that give long term security for those that can’t buy. Once a development is complete, we continue to stay invested in the area by encouraging and facilitating engagement through shared community gardens and gatherings.

Sustainability

We believe the construction and running of our homes should be both ecologically and economically friendly. Construction statistically produces a lot of waste, so we have committed to maintain high recycling targets and offset the emissions of construction through investment in tree planting schemes. We also believe that for many it is possible to lead a full and healthy life without multiple car ownership, and thereby reduce pollution in our cities and ultimately protect our planet. We include plenty of bike parking in convenient positions to encourage greener transport.

To bring about a shift back to valuing a house as a home again and putting people before profit, we must return to building intelligently designed, sustainable and healthy homes that crucially, are attainable for the people who need them and currently are either living in or threatened by homelessness as a result of an unsuitable housing stock.

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