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Small build movement resonates with savvy buyers

27 February 2018

Central Canterbury’s burgeoning district of Selwyn, located south of Christchurch, is leading the region’s ‘small build’ movement.

Many first home buyers, empty nesters and retirees are choosing to downsize from the traditional 200 plus square metre, four bedroom home to more affordable three bedroom properties, ranging from 165 to 190 square metres.

New houses, even smaller ones, are built to a high standard and generally require less maintenance than older existing homes.

While the affordability and availability of housing in New Zealand continues to be a critical issue, some realignment of property owners’ expectations to build smaller homes could be a great solution for other urbanites throughout the country to get behind.

A recent article titled Building trends moving into 2018, published by Star Media Group’s suburban newspaper the Selwyn Times on 21 February 2018, cited Generation Homes’ Devon Green, Branthwaite and Woodcroft Estate developments in Rolleston as catering expressly to the small home property market.


Where once a 200 plus square metre four bedroom home was the norm, the district is coming of age with the breadth and size of new home builds including many smaller footprints.

Developments such as Generation Homes’ Devon Green and Branthwaite in Rolleston cater expressly for buyers capitalising on the Home Start grant and the opportunity to draw down their KiwiSaver funds to allow them to get into the market.

Other first home buyers and those downsizing are also looking at homes around the 125-150 square metre mark.

Three bedroom homes ranging upwards of 165 to 190 square metres and three car garages are also now popular options.

Market changes are also reflected in the diversity of style and size in the show homes now available for viewing.

It is not just the young who are being catered for with three over 55 and retirement complexes currently under construction in Rolleston.

These include the Mary Brittan Lifestyle Village, Woodcroft Estate and The Boulevard with villas, duplex units and apartments planned while the latter will ultimately be Rolleston’s first village to offer the full continuum of care with care suites and hospital rest home and dementia beds.

External claddings on residential buildings continue to include the more traditional brick and plaster with more frequency in the use of linear along with cedar, schist and metal as cladding options or added for effect. Roof lines vary from hip and gable to skillion.

Homes with interesting floor layouts are desirable while interior trends for 2018 are away from white or stainless steel kitchen sinks to black or dark colours, accented with quirky or concrete benches, floors and even walls.

The rustic effect is augmented with tiled splash backs that give the look of wallpaper, vintage lighting, open shelving, and matte metal or brass hardware.

As kitchens have become the hub of the home, the bathroom is a place of luxuriance. Generous walk-in showers, double shower heads (especially in ensuites), freestanding baths and tiling not just on the floors but running up the walls are common themes.

Trough and bucket sinks are also in as is the rustic look, complemented by splashes of colour with aquas and greens in vogue.

Statement or white floors are mooted overseas supplemented with earthy tones and light wood cabinetry while the natural wood look and warm neutral colours are still fashionable augmented with rich vibrant colours. Access and doorways are becoming wider.

In the bedroom, casual and calm yet modern is the feel while textured patterned wallpapers especially as feature walls may be present throughout the house, or black walls along with large furniture pieces.

Energy saving features to incorporate into the new home include: low-emissivity (low-e) double glazing, solar water heating or power and remote controlled systems that allow lights and heating to be turned on from a cell phone.

Designer living spaces outdoors are also in vogue with porticos, pizza ovens, gas fires and lap pools often incorporated.


Click here to find a show home in your region and kick start your dream of small home ownership today.