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Government scheme proving popular

Posted at 3:40pm Sunday 23 Aug, 2015

KiwiSaver HomeStart is proving popular with first home buyers says Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says today.

The number of first home buyers accessing initiative for making a deposit on a house has doubled since the Government’s new KiwiSaver HomeStart package took effect on 1 April this year.

 

“KiwiSaver HomeStart is off to a strong start with 6788 applications in the first quarter to June, of which 2011 have been approved, 1740 pre-approved and another 2016 are in the process. We have paid out $7.2 million in grants to assist 2011 people into 1195 homes,” Dr Smith says.

 

The scheme replaced the KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy. It provides grants of up to $10,000 for the purchase of an existing home, and grants of up to $20,000 for the purchase of a newly-built home. The $418 million scheme has been projected to help 90,000 people over the next five years.

 

“HomeStart is the most generous scheme to support first home buyers since the 1970s where there were State Advances loans and when families could capitalise the family benefit. It makes home ownership an achievable goal for tens of thousands of people on middle incomes, with the combination of KiwiSaver, HomeStart and the Welcome Home Loans,” Dr Smith says.

 

“There have been difficulties for Housing New Zealand dealing with the rush of applications that resulted in some applications being processed too slowly. The performance agreement with Housing New Zealand is for applications to be processed within 10 working days, but this stretched out to 20 days in May. Housing New Zealand is now meeting the 10 day target with the support of extra resources and staffing.”

 

The report released today also covers other home ownership assistance products including the Welcome Home Loan scheme, which was also revised on April 1, and resulted in a record 617 new approvals this quarter. The two schemes that help enable the purchase of state houses, the Tenant Home Ownership scheme and the FirstHome scheme, have also assisted 434 families in owning their own home since they were introduced.

 

“I have been very encouraged by the response to 17 public meetings held around New Zealand on the HomeStart scheme and will be doing more. People are surprised to learn that if they are in KiwiSaver for five years on the average wage with no other savings, they can, with HomeStart, pull together a 10 per cent deposit, be eligible for a Welcome Home Loan, and afford a modest home.

 

"There is still work to do in ensuring young aspiring homeowners around New Zealand know the support that is now available to buy their first home.”


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