Archeologists Daniel (33) and Leah (28) McCurdy are living a happy and settled life in their lovely Avondale home. The pair, who moved into their four-bedroom home in Avondale Road three years ago, has truly made it their own. They’ve grown a garden full of fruit trees and a plentiful vegetable patch, and have created the perfect environment for their much-loved dog Loki.
The young couple thought it would take years to buy their own home and believed it would be simply impossible to ever own a brand new home. Then they heard about the New Zealand Housing Foundation (HF) through a friend, and were delighted to discover that the organisation could help them to purchase a house through its Affordable Equity programme. It enabled Daniel and Leah to buy 71 per cent of the home with HF owning the other share.
Says Daniel, “Buying a house was very high on our list of things to achieve. We wanted a nice stable environment for our family and we wanted stability for our future kids. But we were struggling to accumulate enough of a deposit and every time we thought we were getting somewhere house prices would increase and it was impossible.”
“We’d have had zero chance to buy a brand new home without HF. We’d have to move out to the country and it just wouldn’t be feasible with our jobs.”
When they first applied, Daniel and Leah told HF that they would like to live in Avondale as they loved the area. They were happy to wait until the right location came up and fortunately, only a year later, HF found a single site to buy in Avondale Rd. The McCurdy’s leapt at the chance to go ahead.
The single site is quite different from other HF projects where in some cases up to 70 houses are built in one development. Daniel and Leah were in a unique position where they were able to be involved in design of their home from the very beginning. Something that Daniel says made the house feel even more their own.
“We were very keen to have open-plan living space and we were lucky to enlist the help of an architect contact of mine who, along with HF, gave us lots of advice. HF are the experts, they know about building affordable housing and they know what a house needs for resale, so between us we came up with a great design that makes the home very livable. We were very fortunate.”
From there HF took over with managing the build and two months later the roof was going on. “HF took on all the responsibility and stress out of building. We were very lucky because it was during the recession so there were plenty of tradesmen, plumbers, painters available so it was fast. We went to watch the roof go on and it was completely covered in people. The whole roof went on in three hours! It was amazing to see,” says Daniel.
HF owns 29 per cent of the McCurdy’s home and there is a degree of flexibility as to how that money is repaid to HF over time.
“HF is like having a Mum and Dad who can loan you the money for your deposit. It is a great solution to the problems people are facing trying to buy their first home. This model is a great way of bridging the gap and giving people a head start.”
For the couple, owning their own house is more than just getting on the property ladder, “It is so nice to know you are going home to your home. It’s a nice warm, safe place with no scary unexpected plumbing bills like you have when you are renting!
“From the day we moved in HF made it very clear that the home was ours. They said, ‘we don’t want you to feel like we are your landlords’. They were awesome. But at the same time they were there to support us. It is like having your parents there. They offer security.”
All HF houses are fully finished, carpeted throughout with vinyl flooring in the bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Thermal curtains are fitted to all windows and the houses are prewired for burglar alarms, The gardens fenced and seeded for grass. HF installs an oven and hob with re-circulating extractor hood. They external walls are well insulated.
All households get to choose their interior schemes which have been put together by an HF interior designer. This includes curtains, carpet, vinyl, kitchen benchtop and cupboards and interior paint.
Daniel and Leah want everyone to know that is it very straight-forward and easy to progressively acquire a home with the help of HF.
“Some of our friends initially said it was too good to be true – that there must be a catch. But we want everyone to know that there is no catch. It is as good as it sounds and we are living proof of how good it can be.”
To register your interest or for further information about how to apply for a Housing Foundation click here.
Completed Housing Foundation Developments
169 Colwill Road (Janmar Lane)
Robertson Road, Mangere
Denny Ave, Mt Roskill
Wymondley Road, Otahuhu
Reding Street, Takanini
Calvert Ave, Mangere
Rosebank Road, Avondale
West Coast Road, Glen Eden
Developments currently underway
Poaka Ave, Takanini
Denver Ave, Sunnyvale
Tui Street, Kaikohe
To find out more visit New Zealand Housing Foundation’s website www.nzhf.org