As recently as 2012 buying an existing house was cheaper than building a new home, but that was before the days when a two-bedroom cottage in Mangere Bridge sold for $1.7 million.

Another thing that's changed is the wisdom of buying a shabby do-up and applying a bit of elbow grease to add some shine to your investment. Again, that was in the good old days before overseas investors, 20% LVR deposit restrictions on existing owner occupied properties, 40% LVR deposit restrictions for existing rentals and exploding immigration.

Signature Homes CEO, Paul Bull, says “searching for your dream home used to be a fun adventure, that was until a large number of properties sold started to sell through auction, particulalry in Auckland. Clients come to us talking about the heartbreak, frustration and anger from missing out time and again in the auction room bidding wars.

"I've heard stories from people who are exhausted, homeless and depressed after nine months and 50 auctions, by which time house prices in Auckland have risen by 10 to 12 percent – that's $70,000 on a $700,000 house.

"Sometimes they kick themselves that they hadn’t looked at house and land packages sooner.” House and Land packages are offered by most building companies, they can take one of the biggest problems out of building, access to land. It will take time for the build to be completed but can save time, money and frustration in the long run.

Paul points out that new homes come maintenance free, with no hidden issues – clean, pristine and never 'lived-in'. In essence, no nasty surprises when the first heavy rains of winter turn up.

"Besides the obvious advantages of owning a new home, the affordability factor is very important. For one, you don't need a 20 per cent deposit for a home you are going to live, in or 40% for a rental. This is because new builds are not included in the New Zealand Reserve Bank's loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions.”

Building a new home may take 9-12 months, but by purchasing now, there are advantages. There are also finance and payment options available through construction finance which make paying rent or an existing mortgage manageable.

It’s not something everyone understands but Paul explains that the Government recognises there is a need to build more homes so has lifted lending restrictions on deposits. "With different deposit requirements applying to new builds and house and land packages, it also means the amount you currently have saved could secure you a home and have the build completed in a similar amount of time as it would take you to save a 20% deposit.”

This is particularly relevant if the market moves up in the same way it has in the past few years. If a buyer tried to save a 20% deposit on a used house, that's $180,000 on a $900,000 property now, it can then become $200,000 (or more) on the same house a year later if its price rises to over $1 million. It could take the buyer years to save that amount of money, but you can actually secure a house and land package on half of that.

With respect to the quality of home you get with a new build, the leaky homes disaster that affected homes built between 1994 and 2004 means that the current Building Code requirements are to a very high standard. Anybody building a house now will get a home constructed to stringent quality standards.

These include technologically advanced building materials and superior quality insulation and glazing compared to existing properties. What’s more many house and land packages are in developments with well-planned neighbourhoods designed for today's lifestyle which include cycle tracks, access to public transport, parks and green belts.

The key to building, however, is to choose your builder with care. Signature Homes has been building homes for more than 30 years all across New Zealand and gives market leading guarantees. These include fixed price guarantees before work starts on the build, weather tightness guarantees and a home completion guarantee which provides 100% protection on any payments made during the build.


For more information about building your own home, or house and land packages located across Auckland and NZ, drop by one of our show homes or visit call 0800 744 628.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 11:30am

When considering a new home, there are numerous options to weigh up; location, size, features, this list can seem endless and the range or choices can be daunting. One option people don’t always consider is building new. 

There are many benefits to building over buying a second-hand home. Better design, more control over the fixtures and fittings, and it can actually be easier to get a mortgage for a new build. Not to mention all the modern features and design standards that now come as standard in new homes that can save you thousands in renovations down the track. Building new allows you to customise the home to suit your needs right from the outset, ensuring you have everything you need to suit your lifestyle. 

Choosing a well-established building company like Signature Homes provides you with endless options for your new home. Design and build your dream home from scratch or choose from one of our existing plans that have been developed with cost-efficiency in mind. Whatever your style and budget, we have options to suit. 

We know that finding land can sometimes be difficult. Our extensive range of House & Land Packages take the hard work out of building. There is no need to search for a section and each package is paired with the perfect plan to maximise sunlight, land contours and views. Best of all, through the design and build process, you can still choose your own personal touches, from modifying the floor plan through to colour choices, fixtures and fittings. 

All of the homes we build are backed by our market leading Guarantees which take the risk out of building a new home. You can rest assured that you will move into your new home on time with no nasty pricing surprises along the way. Further, your new home is backed by our structural and weathertightness guarantees that ensure your home will be safe and dry for years to come. 

When you build with a reputable company like Signature Homes, you enjoy the benefits of working with a company that has been in the game for over 30 years. Our well-established building process ensures your build will run smoothly from start to finish. This includes access to our professional team of architects, draftsman and interior designers. During the build, you will have your own project manager, to ensure you get your dream home without the stress usually associated with building. 

You can view our range of designs and House & Land packages online or talk to us today about the benefits of building new over buying.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 8:30am

Winning one award is always a delight, but winning four – including the supreme award – at the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards 2016/17 is incredibly fulfilling because it affirms everything that's good about being part of the Signature Homes story.

Paul Bull, Signature Homes CEO, says the company has great systems and processes and market leading building guarantees, but what really counts is a team of people who take enormous satisfaction out of making homeowners happy.

"The awards are business-to-business awards, but they really speak to how dedicated our people are to making sure we give the best customer service and quality and support."

The founder of Signature Homes, Gavin Hunt, says that after building literally thousands of homes for Kiwis over the last 30 years – through good times and not so good times – the award is confirmation that we're on the right path.

"These most recent awards are a good litmus test for us because they show that, compared to other industries, we are providing genuine value to our franchise partners and that they in turn can pass this on to our customers across New Zealand."

The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards for 2016/17 were presented at a gala dinner in Auckland on October 14, before an audience that included the Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

The four awards are:

Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year 2016/17
Winner ­– Signature Homes

Best Franchisee 2016/17
Winner – Vogue Homes Signature Homes Bay of Plenty Craig & Debbie Williams

Best Franchise System 2016/17
Winner: Signature Homes

Best Home Services Franchise System
Anneta and Gavin Hunt of Signature Homes

In making the award, the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards panel said that they could see that Signature Homes has worked hard to develop a genuinely world-class system to support both its franchisees and customers.

Signature Homes featured strongly during the Green Building Awards held during Green Building Week 2016 (September 26–October 2), with two of our recent builds given the highest possible ’New Zealand Excellence’ Green Star ratings.

Green Star takes into account nine categories when rating a building’s overall environmental impact:  energy, water, materials, indoor environment quality (IEQ), transport, land use & ecology, management, emissions, and innovation.

Paul Bull, Signature Homes CEO, couldn’t be happier with the awards “To be recognised in this way for two quite different builds by the New Zealand Green Building Council is recognition of the fact that Signature Homes is able to apply these rigorous requirements to any project that our clients require from us. As an industry we now need to be more aware of the environment in all aspects of the build process from sourcing materials, to design and to future sustainability, and we have the expertise to do so.”

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa, a Maori immersion school in Matauri Bay, Northland, and built by Signature Homes has been awarded 5 stars. Through its sustainable features it will be an example to the children that pass through the school, that is already focused on sustainable practices.

Project Manager Dale Prosser, of Signature Homes Ltd, was pleased to accept the award for the build, “I’m proud of the effort the whole team put into taking the school from concept through to reality, ensuring the strict Green Star criteria were met along the way. We need to move forward as a country, making sustainable building a priority. Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa is a perfect place to implement this as it will educate the next generation on the importance of sustainable design.”

Eight new homes in Mount Roskill (pictured above), owned by Housing New Zealand and built by the Signature Homes North Shore Franchise have been awarded 6 Homestars (the best rating possible). Homestar is a specific branch of the New Zealand Green Building Council, designed to apply environmental standards specifically to housing. Homestar awards points across seven categories: energy, health and comfort; water; waste; materials; site; home management; and an optional innovation category. The new Housing New Zealand homes in Mt Roskill are a great example of how through good design, land use can be maximised in an efficient and sustainable way for comfortable urban living.

The two awards illustrate how we can successfully incorporate sustainability into any building project, from commercial builds to residential developments. This will in turn deliver benefits to the owner and community through lower running costs, a healthier indoor environment and a smaller environmental footprint. 

Even if you aren’t striving for a Greenstar award, if you are looking for more sustainable ways to build your next commercial or residential housing project talk to your nearest Signature Homes office.


Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 12:30pm

With the rise of Pinterest and Instagram, we have access to more inspiration right at our fingertips than ever before. Photos of beautiful homes and rooms give rise to ideas and combinations we never thought could work together. 

This year we are seeing a 'nakedness' creep into the aesthetic of popular bathrooms. Raw textures, unfinished surfaces and bare bulbs are amongst the trends that are proving popular, and for good reason. A mixture of textures gives a richness that pleases our tactile nature as humans. Exposed Edison bulbs and copper fittings provide light and warmth, contracting against dark, textured walls.

While it is tempting to throw yourself headfirst into current trends, it is important to consider the long term reality of them. Will they still be on trend in a year? Will those exposed shelves you love, so beautifully styled, become annoying with no doors to shut away any mess? Our best advice is to use easily changeable pieces to follow the trends; you can easily swap your light fittings, or repaint a wall. The rest of your bathroom should be about keeping to the classics. 

One thing we have found time and again that never goes out of fashion is a great shower. Picking the right shower head can make the difference between fantastic pressure and a trickle. Methven are making great shower heads at the moment, their designs are sleek, functional and modern. Popularity speaks volumes, and their Aurajet AIO is proving incredibly popular amongst all our clients. 

We love to provide great advice to our clients. There are a wide range of options available to you, both in the bathroom and throughout your home, to suit all tastes and budgets. Talk to us today about building your new home, our designers, colour specialists and project managers will be there with you every step of the way.