More Kiwis are eyeing up truck-in homes in a bid to avoid supply chain issues, escalating labor and material costs.
This trend is proving most popular in places such as Coromandel, where there is a struggle to find available builders due to demand on top of the country’s building supply constraints.
It comes after the Commerce Commission recommended the Government focus on industry and regulatory reforms in the hope of lowering the price of new housing.
In the last two years, the transportable housing market has soared, Keith Hay’s Hamilton manager Rhys Jellie said.
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“Since Covid we’ve definitely seen a significant increase,” he said.
“We thought when Covid hit it was going to be bad for the building industry, but in fact it has actually been really good.”
Despite the Waikato branch being based on the outskirts of Hamilton, he said the majority of their new ready-built homes aren’t going to cities, but rural and remote areas.
“Coromandel is one of our biggest markets and that’s because there is such a long wait to get a builder on the peninsula, so being a transportable we can utilize a greater labor force in the cities like Hamilton and transport it over to the site,” Jelly said.
“They also tend to not necessarily want a big 250m² brick and tile house with an internal access garage … so it fits with our designs perfectly.”
Other popular areas nationwide are King Country, the East Coast, East Cape and Wairarapa, he said.
“A lot of our builds at the moment this year are going to Taumarunui, Ōhakune, the East Coast near Waipukurau, Coromandel … and we’ve even got one going down to Carterton.
He said customers in these areas tend to either want their house in a hurry or they are farmers and want a home for a new worker within a set month.
Transportable homes are perfect for this, he said, because a client can walk into the showroom, choose what they want and have it built and transported to the section within about three months.
Clients also tend to go for relocatable homes to shorten the time frame between getting title and completion of their home.
“A lot of people buy sections off the plan these days, so they don’t have a certificate of title yet.
“We can build the house before they get title and have the house up there within four weeks of getting it.”
Coastwood Homes – Lockwood Coromandel is also experiencing increased demand.
In the last 18 months, administration manager Sara Hansen said they have been getting a lot of calls from Coromandel people or people wanting to move to the Coromandel inquiring about ready-built homes.
“There is definitely high interest in relocatable homes,” Hansen said.
“We’ve even sold our two show homes in Coromandel … because the clients didn’t want to wait and wanted something they could physically see.”
She believes this is because Coromandel is experiencing “serious material and labor shortages”, and more Aucklanders are wanting to relocate to the peninsula.
In recent months, Hansen said all their ready-built homes – transported from Lockwood’s head office in Rotorua – have been for permanent residents rather than bach owners.
Realestate.co.nz statistics show 274 houses have been built in Thames Coromandel in the last year.
This is compared to the year before, at 150.
“We find that often the people who want to build a bach have the money to do so and they have specific requirements of what they want it to look like.”
The demand has also been seen in the secondhand removable homes market.
In February listings of housing for removable homes jumped up 93 percent from the year before, TradeMe property sales director Gavin Lloyd said.
The average relocatable home at the beginning of 2022 was almost $90,000 – a 41 percent increase from the previous year.
This has since jumped up to $113,630 between April and June.
While relocatable homes can be cheaper and quicker, they don’t always work for everyone.
On top of the upfront purchase costs, Hansen said, prospective buyers need to factor in the costs of moving the home, buying land, setting up services from the site to the home and acquiring the necessary consents.
She said people know what they are getting into because there’s a contract, but with a relocatable there are a “lot of moving parts that could increase the price significantly”.
She suggests a client look at the possible costs of consents, transport, services and potential additional renovations to the property before deciding.
They should also make sure they are in a location that homes can be transported.
“There are some places in Coromandel homes – especially if they are bigger sizes – just can’t be transported to, because the access just isn’t there, so people need to be mindful of that.”