5700 home buyers helped in Hutt

Hutt Valley news
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Government’s new HomeStart scheme is estimated to help 5700 people in the Hutt Valley buy their first home over the next five years, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and list MP based in the Hutt Valley Chris Bishop told a public meeting last night.

“HomeStart is the most generous Government support for first home buyers in more than a generation, and it is part of our plan to reverse the long-term decline in New Zealand’s rate of home ownership,” says Minister for Building and Housing, Dr Nick Smith.

“The KiwiSaver HomeStart support package will help more first home buyers in Hutt Valley achieve the dream of owning their own home. The package is estimated to help around 5700 in the Hutt Valley over the next five years,” says Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley.

“The debate on home ownership is hottest in Auckland, but census data shows that home ownership has been in decline throughout New Zealand over the last 30 years. We have deliberately designed the HomeStart scheme so that it also provides assistance across the country,” says Dr Smith.

“The Hutt is an attractive place for young people with good schools, quality recreational facilities and a great lifestyle and homes more affordable than the central city or Auckland.  The combination of low interest rates and the Government’s HomeStart scheme make it a great time to buy a home in the Hutt,” Mr Bishop said.

The KiwiSaver HomeStart package came into effect on 1 April this year. It comprises three changes:

  • Replacing the KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy with a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, doubling the support for buying a new home and increasing the house price limits ($450,000 in Upper and Lower Hutt);
  • Enabling larger KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawals by including the member’s tax credit (meaning first home buyers will now be able to withdraw all of their KiwiSaver savings except the $1000 kick-start);
  • Expanding eligibility for Welcome Home Loans by aligning the house price caps with the new KiwiSaver HomeStart grant.

Nationally, the package is projected to assist 90,000 people into home ownership over the next five years, at a cost of $435 million.

“Thanks to the changes included in the HomeStart package, a couple in Lower Hutt each earning $50,000 a year will now be able to withdraw $25,000 from their KiwiSaver and qualify for a HomeStart grant of $20,000 – giving them $45,000 for a deposit towards a new home with no other savings. They will also be eligible the expanded Welcome Home Loans scheme, which requires only a 10 per cent deposit, meaning they will be able to purchase a home up to a value of $450,000,” Mr Bishop says.

Tonight’s roadshow in Lower Hutt is the latest in the series of up to 20 public meetings planned for cities and regional centres across the country. The meetings include the Minister, and Housing New Zealand, which administers the HomeStart and Welcome Home Loan schemes.

“HomeStart is just one part of our programme of housing reform to improve housing supply and affordability across the country, including in our regions. We are working with local councils to free up more land faster, as well reducing building material costs, reining in infrastructure and compliance costs and investing in sector skills and productivity,” Dr Smith concluded.