A home being built on a steep hill above Haven Rd. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

More homes on hills


More Nelsonians are choosing to build their homes on steep sites, according to Nelson City Council, and several builders in the region are finding a niche market in the building boom.

NCC communications manager Paul Shattock says that although they don’t record specific statistics on the number of steep sites being developed, they can “safely say” that there has been an increase in the past year.

“As land value increases and flat land supply reduces it becomes increasingly economic to develop steep land,” he says.

Phil Harrhy from Kickstart Homes says his building company has seen a 50 per cent increase of people wanting to build on hills in the past year.

“The majority of people approaching us are people wanting to build on steeper sections,” says Phil.
“It’s pretty rare to get an affordable flat one,” he says.

Phil says there is a perception that steep sites are more expensive to build on, but says that this isn’t necessarily true.

“It all comes down to design. If your budget is a bit tighter than others, your selection gets down to bare minimum – but steeper sections are not really more expensive to develop if you design them right.”

Phil says they build more affordable houses on hilly sections, such as those on St Lawrence St and Martello Way in Toi Toi.

They have also built on steep sites on Citrus Lane and Panorama Drive in Enner Glynn.

Garry Nott from Tasman Homes also says they have found a niche market in designing and building on hill sites all around Nelson and Tasman.

They specialise in top level, architectural houses.

“We are only a small company and can only take on so much a year, but we find that we have had lots more people approaching us.”

Garry says they had one situation recently with a steep section that had been looked at twice, but people couldn’t get their head around it how it could be developed, and thought it would be too expensive.

“There is just not that expertise around when it comes to steep sites – you need to be a lot more specialised in what you do,” he says.
“People are realising that it is not as hard as they think if you find the right builder. It doesn’t cost anymore, you just need to know what you’re doing.”