"Our aim is to create housing opportunities at an affordable price."
Construction of a 160-lot development is about to get under way in the North Waikato - part of a burst of growth that looks set to eventually join up Hamilton and Ngāruawāhia.
The 15 hectares, which stretches from River Rd to Starr Rd in Ngāruawāhia, will be turned into $260,000 to $270,000 sections.
There is huge growth opportunity this side of town, developer Levin Da Costa said.
MARK TAYLOR Stuff NZ
Cam Leach turns the first soil.
"Our aim is to create housing opportunities at an affordable price," Da Costa said.
The sections will be an opportunity for Hamiltonians to purchase a more affordable product, Da Costa said.
"House prices are ballistic in Hamilton.
"We're creating a product 10 minutes' drive from there at an affordable price."
Ngāruawāhia, Morrinsville and Hamilton will all merge into one, one day, Da Costa said.
"The Waikato is a great option for livability and Ngāruawāhia is the quickest to grow.
"Its proximity to growth and development and connectivity to Auckland are all really positive."
On Thursday, a blessing was held at the site, which is located down the road from Turangawaewae Marae.
Representatives from BTW Company Ltd, Ultimate Global Builders, GJ Gardner Homes and Turangawaewae Marae, along with Da Costa, were present for a karakia and the first turning of the soil.
"We wanted to have the site blessed before getting into stage one of the project because of its close proximity to Turangawaewae and Ngāruawāhia as a whole," project manager Taryn Martin of BTW Company Ltd said.
"We wanted to build that engagement right from the beginning."
Turangawaewae Marae board of trustees chairman Pokaia Nepia did the blessing.
Nepia holds a connection to the land from when a friend of his used to own the former farm.
"I've spent a bit of time here in the past and it's sad to see all of this land go away, but it's progress," Nepia said.
Housing is a big issue, particularly affordable housing, Nepia said.
"People are moving down from Hamilton at a rapid rate and we're merging together as one.
"I'm happy to be a part of it and Turangawaewae is happy to be a part of it and just enjoy what is happening with our people and with our town."
Each section is between 450 and 600 square metres and homes will be built by Ultimate Global Builders and GJ Gardner Homes.
Homes will be stand-alone builds and a mix of pre-design builds and one-off designs.
The predesigned homes will be more affordable and there will be some sort of covenant structure to protect the asset of the buyers, Da Costa said.
He predicted homes would be between three and four bedrooms and 120sqm and 200sqm, at an average.
"We're driving affordable housing, but if someone wants a bigger build, we can do it.
"We want to enlighten buyers what affordability is all about."
Earthworks are due to start as soon as possible.
The first set of titles are expected to be ready in six to eight months.