More Kiwis are eyeing trucking houses in an effort to avoid supply chain issues, escalating labor and material costs.
This trend is proving more popular in places like Coromandel, where it is difficult to find available builders due to demand in addition to the country’s construction supply constraints.
It comes after the Commerce Commission recommended the government focus on industry and regulatory reforms in hopes of bringing down the price of new homes.
Over the past two years the portable housing market has exploded, said Rhys Jellie, manager of Keith Hay in Hamilton.
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The government is responding to the Commerce Commission’s market survey of the building materials sector.
“Since Covid, we’ve certainly seen a significant increase,” he said.
“We thought when Covid hit it was going to be bad for the building industry, but it’s actually been really good.”
Although the Waikato branch is based on the outskirts of Hamilton, he said the majority of their new ready-made homes don’t go to cities, but to rural and remote areas.
“Coromandel is one of our biggest markets and that’s because there’s such a long wait to find a builder on the peninsula, so being a transportable we can use a bigger workforce in cities like Hamilton and transport it to the site,” Jelly said.
“They also tend not to necessarily want a large 250m² brick and tile house with an internal access garage…so that fits our designs perfectly.”
Other popular parts of the country are King Country, East Coast, East Cape and Wairarapa, he said.
“A lot of our builds right now this year are going to Taumarunui, Ōhakune, the East Coast near Waipukurau, Coromandel…and we even have one going down to Carterton.
He said customers in those areas tend to either want their homes fast or be farmers and want a home for a new worker within a month.
Transportable homes are perfect for this, he said, because a customer can walk into the showroom, choose what they want and have it built and transported to the section within about three months. .
Customers also tend to opt for relocatable homes to shorten the time between getting title and completing their home.
“A lot of people are buying off-plan sections these days, so they don’t have a certificate of title yet.
“We can build the house before they get the title and get the house up within four weeks of getting it.”
Coastwood Homes – Lockwood Coromandel is also seeing increased demand.
Over the past 18 months, Administrative Manager Sara Hansen said she has received many calls from people in Coromandel or people wishing to move to Coromandel to inquire about ready homes.
“There’s definitely a lot of interest in relocatable homes,” Hansen said.
“We 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 shortages of materials and labour”, and more and more Aucklanders are keen to move to the peninsula.
In recent months, Hansen has said that all of their ready-made homes – transported from Lockwood’s headquarters in Rotorua – are for permanent residents rather than bach owners.
Statistics from Realestate.co.nz show that 274 houses were built in Thames Coromandel last year.
This is compared to the previous year, at 150.
“We find that often people who want to build a bach have the money to do it and they have specific requirements as to what they want it to look like.”
Demand was also seen in the second-hand portable home market.
In February, housing listings for removable homes jumped 93% from a year earlier, said TradeMe property sales manager Gavin Lloyd.
The average relocatable home at the start of 2022 was nearly $90,000, a 41% increase over the previous year.
This has since jumped to $113,630 between April and June.
While relocatable homes can be cheaper and faster, they aren’t always right for everyone.
In addition to the initial purchase costs, Hansen said, potential buyers must consider the costs of moving the house, buying land, setting up site services at the house and obtaining the necessary consents.
She said people know what they’re getting into because there’s a contract, but with a move there are “a lot of moving parts that could significantly increase the price.”
She suggests a client consider the possible costs of consents, transportation, services and potential additional renovations to the property before making a decision.
They should also make sure they are in a place where the houses can be transported.
“There are places in Coromandel houses – especially if they are larger in size – that just can’t be transported, because the access just isn’t there, so people need to be aware of that. .”