Tim Manning keeps building on new village formula

Posted on Friday, October 1st, 2010 at 12:31 pm in

“PROPERTY DEVELOPER Tim Manning is something of a rarity among his peers in that: a) he hasn’t gone broke and b) he currently has a project on the go. Manning through his company Norwich Properties and prior to that Taradale Developments, has been one of the country’s most prolific residential property developers, having completed by his estimate about 2000 homes spread from one end of the country to the other. But even he has found things a bit slow the last couple of years, as residential activity has slowed to a trickle. However, he is confident that there are enough potential buyers lined up for his Fonteyn Village project in the Auckland suburb of Avondale to allow construction to get under way next month. The project is unusual in that buyers or tenants of the 56 homes in the development will need to be at least 55 years of age, although the development is not, strictly speaking a retirement village. It will nnot operate under the purview of a statutory supervisor and the individual homes will be on seperate titles, rather than the usual license to occupy arrangement. Instead, it as been structured as a gated community in which residents will own their own homes on freehold titles, and a share of the common facilities, with the body corporate rules stipulating that owners or the principal tenant in each unit must be aged 55 or over. Obviously the village has been designed with the needs of retired folks in mind. It is being built on the site of a former orchard at the end of a quiet residential cul-de-sac, surrounded by tidy family homes. Access through the front gates will be via swipe card and the road which rings the village will be private, owned by the village, so the general public will have no automatic right of access. So residents shouldn’t be troubled by boy racer hoons causing mayhem late at night. All of the homes will be brick and title construction and have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage, mostly constructed as duplex units (two units sharing a common wall between the garages). The surrounding grounds on each owner’s freehold title will be small, but big enough to plant a pocket vege patch or flower beds if they wish to. There will also be a community centre called The Club. which will be owned and operated by the body corporate. This will contain a lounge with large screen TV and overlook a petanque terrain and will be a place for residents to socialise among themselves or with visitors. A fulltime manager will live on-site. Manning said he developed the idea for the village while travelling overseas. Because the retirement village concept is more prevalent in the northern hemisphere, there is greater variety in their types amd financial structures. The license to occupy model, which dominates the industry here, is not so common overseas, he said. New Zealanders also had a long tradition of building up most of their wealth in their homes and then releasing cash in their retirement by downsizing to something smaller.Fonteyn (named after the street in which it is located) had been designed as an affordable option for those considering such a move, Manning said. The homes are priced from $335,000 to $385,000 with an average price of $366,000. With the median price of homes sold in the Auckland region last month sitting at $445,000, Fonteyn should be well within reach of people who currently have mid-priced homes and are thinking of making a move. The common facilities and services have also been designed to keep weekly outgoings to a minimum, preserving the cash of people of fixed incomes. According to Manning, many traditional retirement villages offer a wide range of services, increasing overheads. But not everyone wanted all of the services the big villages provided, he said. The initial budget for the body corporate has been estimated at just under $130,000 a year, which means each owner will an average of about $44 per week in body corporate fees compared with fees of nearly $150 a week charged by some villages. Owners can sell in the normal way by listing it for sale with a real estate agent. However, the minimum age requirement would continue to apply. Manning said buyers had already signed contracts for 30 of the village’s homes. Manning said he was confident builders would start next month. Written by Greg Ninness, Sunday Star Times