Is an EasyBuild home the affordable housing solution you’ve been looking for?

This article was originally published on newshub.co.nz.

A lot of things may have previously come to mind when picturing a prefabricated home – not all of them flattering. In the past, it’s often been considered a temporary housing solution, a glorified garage or an office out the back.

But one Kiwi company is aiming to change all of that, with its quality modular homes that may just be the future of housing in Aotearoa.

EasyBuild, a nationwide modular home building company, specialises in flat packed homes which can be built up to twice as fast on site as other new home options – at less cost and with no compromise on quality.

EasyBuild Kitchen and Dining

If you’ve suffered through the last damp winter in a drafty villa, or you’re stuck while looking for a first home option, these warm, dry and spacious home designs may just be the perfect solution.

EasyBuild co-founder Mike Fox certainly thinks so, and is willing to make the claim that an Easybuild home offers “the best value on the market”.

“Often, if you want to buy cheap, you end up with no more than a lined-out garage,” he told Newshub. “[But] our homes have above average energy efficiency, they’re made producing very low waste, the construction is way more solid…”

“Every time people turn up to one of our show homes they always say ‘wow, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as this’.

“It’s the value for money aspect – there will always be something cheaper, but you’re not getting the same quality, warm, environmentally friendly home – for your money.”

Spacious Open Plan Living

The numbers back up the claims. According to EasyBuild data, their homes are more than twice as airtight compared to conventional builds, with less than three air changes per hour, compared to 6-10 per hour in conventionally built new homes – all translating to more money in your pocket with lower bills for heating and cooling your home.

To make it even better, building waste is reduced by two thirds, and each build is extra weathertight with a rigid air barrier and ventilated cavity – all features you don’t commonly find in comparable homes.

If you’re unsure about how an EasyBuild home works, Newshub previously wrote about the ‘flatpack‘ designs. Basically, if you can walk to a section, one of the company’s modern, modular home designs can be built on it.

In what will be another huge surprise to anyone who’s ever built a home, the on-site building process only takes around 12 weeks – meaning you’re saving time and money across the entire build, including rent and finance, labour costs and more.

That’s basically The Block speed – just without the stress, fights and cameras waking you up each morning.

So who’s the best fit for the novel housing solution? Just about anyone it would seem -– their wide range of light and spacious designs means there’s something for everyone. But Fox says a major portion of their clientele is especially those looking for first homes, or looking to downsize.

If you don’t mind living a stone’s throw from mum and dad – great for laundry purposes – Fox says they’re seeing a surge of first home buyers building on larger family sections after previously being locked out of the market because prices are too high.

EasyBuild Open Plan Living and Dining

“A really big thing we’re seeing is families using their assets if they’re on a large section, by subdividing and building another house on the back for their adult kids to move in to,” he explained.

“Or they’re also great for people wanting to downsize and move into a warmer, drier home. Baby boomers are a big portion of our market – especially people who are retiring – because they’re warm, low maintenance homes.”

If it all sounds too good to be true, the EasyBuild team recommends you get along to one of their show homes to see for yourself – before getting out of your cold damp home quick smart, and into something warm, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient – without breaking the bank.

New Zealand’s Affordable Housing Crisis – why is it so hard to produce low cost homes?

In EasyBuild founding Director Mike Fox’s July Building Today column, he discusses New Zealand’s affordable housing crisis – and why it’s so hard to produce low cost homes.

Mike’s article elaborates:

“It is one of the biggest problems our country faces — we cannot produce the affordable housing that’s so desperately needed.

But we can produce an overabundance of expensive homes. So why the massive disconnect between demand and supply?

Without political ownership and a major overhaul of the current regulatory processes, affordable housing will never be delivered. New Zealand’s journey to housing unaffordability has been 30-plus years in the making.

Over the past four decades, I’ve built hundreds of homes, and have watched the market progressively tilt towards larger homes on smaller, very expensive lots, with building time frames stretching out and productivity plummeting.

Unfortunately, this is what our current system and market dictates, but it is woefully under-delivering on what we need to house everyone, especially in the dawning era where affordability will be paramount.”

After our Government’s Kiwibuild solution failed, they soon realised too that the delivery system in NZ is broken, full of delays, hurdles, costs and skewed towards high cost land and therefore high cost homes.

Mike continues, “We have been building a disproportionate oversupply of expensive larger homes, with the greatest area of demand being affordable homes, hardly catered for.

This needs to change, and quickly. However, if we continue to follow the same regulatory processes, how can we expect a different outcome? It just won’t happen.

If we want affordable housing, we need to produce affordable land free of inflationary minimum size and design-restrictive covenants.

In reality, these covenants are put in place by developers to raise the price of subsequent section releases. They cut out a large portion of buyers who might be wanting a smaller, more efficient home.”

At the end of the day, to solve this crisis, we need a different approach, says Mike, “The solution is relatively clear — we need fewer rules and political fortitude, as local authorities will need to be curbed and, in some cases, overruled — and not just for Government projects.

If they asked me, I would remove all smaller residential projects from the Resource Management Act as it is no longer fit for purpose, and the planning process too subjective. The process often gets highjacked by neighbours, anti-commercial practices, personal agendas and nimbism.

More standardisation of design and modular building needs to be increased, and the consumer conditioned to not expect a bespoke home if they want affordability and value.

Building companies create the expectation that you can have your home any way you want. However, if the consumer realised that building bespoke added at least 25% to the cost of their home, they may view things very differently.

This is even more important now where people will be cutting their cloth accordingly, and looking for homes within their means that deliver efficiency on all fronts.

The social and health costs from not getting more affordable housing into the market far outweigh the cost of providing good housing. All these people forced to live in motels, cars and caravans need a stable, warm place to call home.”

Check out Mike’s full article on buildingtoday.co.nz.

EasyBuild have the perfect solution to help New Zealand’s affordable housing crisis, and we’re committed to providing high quality, excellent value for money homes for Kiwis, around the country. Talk to us today about how EasyBuild can help you.

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