New house market taking off again


Based on month on month increases in the company’s sales figures, Jennian Homes management believes new house building activity is gaining positive momentum nationwide.


Jennian business development manager Dave Wilson says indications are building consent figures are starting to stabilise.


“We’re seeing this reflected in the level of enquiries and sales at Jennian. June has been our best month this calendar year, with more than double the sales we’ve seen in the previous months.


“Activity has picked up, particularly in the regions, with Northland, Waikato, Nelson and Canterbury showing noticeable growth, and the metropolitan areas beginning to follow,” he says.


Mr Wilson considers job security to have been a big factor that held people back from making significant financial decisions the past 18 months. However, the issue seems to be settling, with more people prepared to commit to longer-term plans.


“Our franchisees across the country report they’re seeing less of the wait-and-see attitude of the past few months, and more people ready to build now.


“Now is, indeed, a good time to think about building a home as interest rates are low and land has become cheaper. We’re seeing a noteworthy increase in enquiries from people who have already purchased land at a good price and are now ready to start designing their dream home,” he says.


In addition, an apparent increase in net migration has been driving activity at Jennian from two perspectives.


Mr Wilson says in the first instance Kiwis planning to return from around the world are enquiring about building a home in preparation for coming back to settle down. In the second instance investors are seeing an opportunity to build rental properties to meet the increased demand for housing.


This demand results from immigrants and potential first home buyers who are delaying getting onto the property ladder as they save to meet deposit requirements.


While rental demand is causing Jennian’s target market to diversify, Mr Wilson says the company’s core business remains building the New Zealand family’s dream home for them.


Jennian has 80 house plans designed over time and proven in practice during the 30 years the company has been in business. Mr Wilson says these plans are a good starting point for a family to choose the home that complements their lifestyle choices and to add the unique features and finishing touches that reflect their wish list.


But while focusing on delivering what the customer wants, the Jennian team also takes great care that the resulting building is completely future proof.


The company recently entered into a strategic relationship with Right House, a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, established in 2007.


According to the company’s web site, Right House takes an integrated approach to ensuring newly built or renovated houses create a comfortable, healthy and energy-efficient environment. It advises builders and owners on products and systems to achieve this.


“What we’re saying is yes, the house is energy efficient and sustainable and will keep its value in future, but the immediate effect is the home is better to live in today, it makes the most of the section, and it’s a healthy and enjoyable home right here and now,” Mr Wilson says.


He says this kind of attention to detail has positioned Jennian over the years as one of the most recognisable builders in the country, and New Zealand’s most awarded new home builder in the annual Registered Master Builders’ House of the Year awards.


Jennian Homes won 87 awards in 2008, including three Gold Reserve national finalist awards. “Our philosophy is we should build all our houses to award-winning standard. Every home we build must be our flagship home.”


He says Jennian’s standards are about more than the house itself and good service to customers. It is also about industry-leading support to Jennian’s 30 franchisees, which enables customers to trust the franchisees for security of supply, and ensures franchisees and customers are better protected during difficult times.


This support comes in the form of Jennian Services which, amongst other services, assists franchisees to set up the robust financial practices required for a modern business to thrive.


“While Jennian Homes is pleased to see the increase in building activity, we shouldn’t forget the difficulties the industry is currently still experiencing.


“As we start to come out of this downturn, there’s much work to be done by the Government and industry to develop solutions to break the destructive and unsustainable boom and bust cycle of the building sector,” Mr Wilson says.