4 Jul 2018

Thousands sign up for KiwiBuild in first day

8:48 pm on 4 July 2018

Thousands of people have signed up to the government's KiwiBuild Scheme in its first day, hoping it will give them a better chance of becoming a home owner.

The frame of a new house under construction, with a blue sky behind it (file)

Photo: 123RF

The government today announced the income caps are $120,000 for sole purchasers and $180,000 for couples.

To be eligible, buyers must be purchasing their first home, or be "second chancers" - former homeowners who have ended up in a similar financial position as a first home buyer, for example because of divorce.

KiwiBuild houses in Auckland and Queenstown will have a maximum price of $650,000 for a three-bedroom home, and the maximum price for the rest of the country will be set at $500,000.

Within the first two hours of the announcement 1100 people had registered for the scheme.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said more than 5950 registrations of interest had been received by 4.45pm today.

Scout Barbour-Evans is a student in Dunedin, and said the criteria had given them a better hope of buying a first home.

"I'm pregnant with my first child at the moment and I would really love to have a warm, dry, and safe home that we could be living in. I just don't know if it's a possibility yet."

But they said while the threshold was good for Aucklanders, it was unfair for those who were on the lower side of the income cap, living in a cheaper city.

"In Dunedin, where you could get a mortgage probably on two houses for that amount, it's a bit of a sting.

"I think they should've been looking on an individual level in the regions as to what that baseline should be."

Scout Barbour-Evans said when signing up this morning they were surprised at the lack of questions around the eligibility.

"I was expecting a question about maybe how many dependent children you have, or whether you have disability needs or that sort of thing, that are really important to consider when going to housing but instead it was just ... how many bedrooms would you like, and where would you be interested in putting the ballot for?"

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said requiring people to ballot for the homes would help ensure those on lower incomes still have a good chance.

Nicole is studying medicine in Auckland and said that until now her only hope of buying a home was to go outside Auckland, which she said would not be ideal for her.

She said it was likely that she would be signing up in the next few years for the scheme, but expected it to be a decade or more before she was a homeowner.

"I think my goal would be to probably buy in Auckland in the next say 15 years, rather than the next mid-term five to 10 year goal."

A thousand homes are expected to be built this year.