Feilding - Rangitikei Herald

Columns
Thursday, May 12, 2016

Home ownership brings security to individuals and their families.

As a Government we value this and that's why we've developed a wide-ranging programme aimed at improving housing supply and affordability.

We're rolling out housing accords to free-up more land for development. We're taking steps to cut unnecessary compliance costs; and we're investing in skills which will raise the productivity performance of the building sector. And we've helped more than 300 first home buyers in the Rangitikei Electorate in the first year of the Government's HomeStart scheme.

The biggest challenge for young people getting into home ownership is pulling together funds for a deposit. In its first year, HomeStart has provided $55.6 million in grants to 11,943 people to help them into their first home.

In the Rangitikei it has helped over 300 buyers with grants worth over $1,665,000.

The $435 million HomeStart scheme, which came into effect on 1 April 2015 to replace the KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy, has been projected to help 90,000 people over five years.

Under it, couples can apply for grants of up to $10,000 for a deposit on an existing home, or up to $20,000 for a new-build.

Now is a good time for families to buy a first home. Interest rates are at their lowest level in fifty years - and the HomeStart scheme is the most generous support a government has offered for first home buyers in a generation.

HomeStart is also another good reason for people to join up to KiwiSaver. Under it, a couple each earning $40,000 a year could withdraw up to $29,000 after five years for a house deposit. They can combine that with their HomeStart grant of $10,000 or $20,000. What's more, the Government's latest tweaks to HomeStart will help the scheme work better for second-chance homebuyers. It removes the income cap for people who have previously owned their own home but are struggling to get back into home ownership after an event such as a separation or business failure.

KiwiSaver HomeStart is part of the National-led Government's wide, ongoing programme to improve housing supply and affordability. It really is an exciting initiative that's making a real difference.