Dreams do come true. It took 10 years, but the Vaughs are in an affordable home. Marjorie Cook reports.
Two months ago, Cardrona Distillery operations manager Kenny Vaugh, his wife Carrie, their son Rory (4) and twin daughters Ivy and Maisie (2) moved into their new Hikuwai house.
Rory is well pleased with the position of the couch and the trampoline and his mum and dad are over the moon.
After many years’ dreaming, it has been made possible through the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust’s assisted home ownership model, Secure Home.
“We were told it would not be your typical house-buying process. We had a bank to choose. SBS is the only bank that works with the trust at the moment,” Mr Vaugh said.
Mr Vaugh, from Ireland and Mrs Vaugh, from Scotland, met at home and went travelling.
A friend invited them to Wanaka about 10 years ago.
They found hospitality work and a Warren St rental for about $370 a week.
The Auckland landlord was a fair man who put the rent up just once stayed put.
“If we had moved [rentals] it would have cost us about $550 [a week],” Mr Vaugh said.
“Our landlord put double glazing in, got the carpets changed. Warren St was very convenient.”
When the children came along, they noticed beautiful million-dollar houses were popping up around them, without families in them.
Where were the children? At Hikuwai. “There’s children in every house,” Mrs Vaugh said.
Mr Vaugh is the family breadwinner. Mrs Vaugh left her job at Kai Whakapai Cafe to look after the kids and recently founded a home-based business, Village Gifts, selling at markets and online.
The girls’ arrival is a double good news story, not just because they were rare monoamniotic (“Mo-Mo”) twins and survived pregnancy, but because they were the tipping point for enabling the house.
The girls shared a placenta and amniotic sac, creating the risk of cord entanglement and reduced nutrient delivery. Scans revealed they were not conjoined, as might sometimes happen.
Mrs Vaugh still had to spend weeks in a specialist unit at Christchurch Hospital, before their premature birth at 32 weeks in Invercargill Hospital, because it was the only place with neonatal intensive care beds.
The couple could not get on the affordable house waiting list when Rory was a baby, because both worked full time.
“Now we had two more children and one less job, so they were like,
To buy a four-bedroom house with a garage for under $500,000, they raised a 20% deposit, including their Kiwisavers.
They took out a 100-year lease on the land (about 520sqm), which costs about $100 a week, separate from mortgage payments.
They also got a Government first home grant.
The couple say that was lucky. First home grants are hard to get in Wanaka because they are capped at $650,000.
The monthly median sale price for a Wanaka house this year has been between $900,000 and $1.1million.
“Because we were only buying the house, not the land, we got it,” Mr Vaugh said.
The couple cannot benefit from increases in capital land value but they can live in the house “forever”.
If they sell, their inflation-adjusted investment is returned and the home goes to another applicant.
“We have lived in a few places around the world, and home is the happy place where you want to stay. It is about family now, the children, bringing them up in a safe place like Wanaka,” Mr Vaugh said.
Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust executive officer Julie Scott said there is just one affordable house left in the Hikuwai block $392,000) occupant is due soon.
There are 150 people on the Wanaka waiting list, and 10 homes are to be built at Northlake next year.
The trust also expects titles to 28 sections from Longview, Lake Hawea next year, and eventually a total of 60 Longview sections.
The trust has provided 40 affordable homes in Wanaka, through various ownership and renting models, since it started addressing housing difficulties in 2007.