Article: Speak Easy

Kotata Heights –Whangarei  Reinvests In  Itself with Michael BoturKotata Heights –Whangarei Reinvests In Itself with Michael Botur

Kotata Heights is at the crest of that beautiful hill in Morningside. You know the one, off Morning Side Road behind Anzac Park – near where it’s covered in eucalyptus, walking distance to downtown with awesome views. 

It’s a reminder that we can squeeze some savvy land usage out of this town – remember, Whangarei’s District Plan is creating incentives for people to settle where there is already water, power and roads. People are being gently nudged towards subdivisions or sections where infrastructure already exists. As I discussed a few Speakeasys ago, WDC is wanting to encourage residential town centre living for another reason: to get vibrancy back in the city centre (we all know we have far too many unkempt buildings downtown).

Housing affordability is part of the motivation to build within the city too, - development is more affordable for everyone where existing roads, water, footpaths and power already exist in built-up areas. Builders like Jennian Homes who are busy at Kotata Heights don’t have to pass as many development costs onto the buyer.

Generation Homes is building up on Kotata Heights. Managing director David Skudder told me three builds have been completed and the move-ins have commenced. All buyers are local Whangareians, interestingly; perhaps Kotata Heights isn’t widely-enough appreciated by Auckland migrants yet.

Most of the Generation Homes builds are around the $700,000 mark and come with double garages. They’re come with those luxuries we’ve all come to expect in a new build – ensuite, double garage, computer nook. Plus, building companies are very savvy and competitive these days and get the cost quotes very detailed, providing the buyer with a fixed price contract and guaranteed move-in day.

A complete package for a fixed price is Generation’s point of difference, David says.

“We’re getting mostly locals interested, professionals,” David told me. “All are owner-occupiers. We sit down with clients and work with them on the budget, work up from there. A lot of their wants and requirements may be dictated by the budget. From the get-go they know what they’re going to pay and there are no hidden costs.”

“A lot of people are focused on the exterior but once they come inside, everyone has different wants – say the shower for example, will it be tiled or not. There’s not pattern at all – we give them opportunity to put their stamp on the place.”

There are even affordable Kiwibuild homes going in; these are slightly more modest, with single garage and single bathroom, and you can expect to see these advertised soon. 

The second stage of development at Kotata includes 34 residential sections, priced from $190,000, all along the top ridge of Kotata Heights. Several partner building companies – Generation and Jennian amongst them – are offering house and land packages. They’ll help with finance, too, if you wish.

Jody Yakas of Jennian Homes has five builds underway at the moment including a showhome. All have sold. There are 14 sections in the first stage. Packages in stage 2 will start at around $500,000.

“We’re the only ones with a showhome in Kotata at the moment,” Jody says. “We think the central living will take off.” Population growth expected? That’s uncertain.

Kotata Heights Stage 02 Lots will be covenanted to ensure residents enjoy a neighbourhood which is well maintained and well presented. Homes in stage 2 will be a minimum size of 120 square metres.

There’ll be a cycleway in there, and Kotata borders on the wetlands of Limeburners Creek. Sounds pretty choice.

Michael Botur has published journalism in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana and he writes a lot of fiction. He moved to Whangarei in 2015 and was ecstatic to be able to afford a house here.

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