Boom to bust: Building sector liquidations on the rise, leaving home buyers worried

Buying off the plans was a popular option for first-home buyers trying to escape skyrocketing prices, but there are concerns the building industry is moving from boom to bust.

The number of building sector liquidations has already surpassed 2021 and we've still got five weeks left in the year.

It was supposed to be their dream first home - a two-bedroom apartment in Auckland's Te Atatū. 

But now one young couple is worried their life savings are gone with the wind. 

"We feel absolutely stupid," the couple, who want to remain anonymous, said.

The couple purchased one of 82 apartments in the Dawn Park development in July 2021, expecting to have keys in hand a year later. 

"It was very promising until end of last year. The next thing you know more and more materials have been removed from site," they said

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The couple watched and documented as the building site was stripped down to bare timber framing. 

"We haven't had any proper response from them since May, so half a year," the couple said. "We feel powerless."

Treasure Plus Limited, the vendor, didn't immediately respond to Newshub's multiple requests for comment. 

Those Newshub spoke to in the building industry said it's likely we are moving to a bust cycle.

Numbers released to Newshub by MBIE show the number of liquidations in the building industry is on the rise. 

There were more than double the number of liquidations in July and August compared with the same months in 2021, and November numbers have already far exceeded the previous year. 

The sunset clause for Dawn Park - which should give buyers a chance to get out - is due to be triggered on Wednesday.

But these first-home buyers are likely to be locked in until November next year because, in their contract, that clause can be extended by 12 months at the vendor's discretion. 

"We just want to get our deposits back and move on, buy another house and start a family," the couple said.

Late on Tuesday, Newshub did finally hear from the developer who said Treasure Plus has faced several challenges in the past few years and they want to apologise for the delay in the project. 

They said builders will be back on site this week and expect to see significant progress over the next six months.