In its early propaganda from 2014, the Maypole company, which is creating the huge subdivisions on the north-west side of the ‘Ewy’ in the beach zone, so described its development intentions.
One of the gardens on the Lions Karori Garden Trail last weekend was Futuna, off Friend Street, which comprises 66 semi-detached townhouses and a large common area with facilities run by a homeowners association.
Some readers may remember when Futuna was a retreat owned and run by the Catholic Church. The land was sold in the early 2000s and existing structures demolished. The iconic chapel is now owned by a trust.
In the U.S., retirement villages of the ‘Licence to Occupy’ type owned by property businesses are not part of the scene (and what we call Rest Homes are known there as Nursing Homes).
Instead these types of homeowners association or HOA arrangement are common, and not just for retirees: if you’re buying a condominium, townhouse, or freestanding home in a neighbourhood with shared common areas — such as a swimming pool, tennis court, community centre, walking trails, sports courts and playing fields reserved for residents, parking garage, or even just the security gates and sidewalks in front of each residence — odds are these areas are maintained by an HOA. It’s estimated that nearly 25% of Americans now live in one of these set-ups.
The common areas and amenities are maintained by an elected committee of the HOA and owners have to pay a monthly or quarterly fee for it.
The big differences from the NZ-style retirement village is that the people own their homes, and don’t effectively rent them. If there’s a capital gain on sale, they get it, not the property business. Furthermore, they won’t be paying for some full-time manager’s bloated salary, fees for external directors and so on.
The disadvantage is that there are likely to be tough rules about what owners can and can not do regarding all aspects of external appearance, where you can park vehicles, and maybe internal alterations.
Some subdivisions, however, can also have restrictive covenants applying to them. We know that the Ferndale subdivision in Waikanae, for example, has.
Whether the Maypole company intends some or most of its massive developments to consist of this type of arrangement, we know not. However, that seems probable from the many drawings of 3-story condominium blocks it has made public.