9 Jul 2010

Few take up Government home ownership scheme

5:13 pm on 9 July 2010

The Housing Minister, Phil Heatley, is rejecting claims the Government is selling false hope by offering some state tenants the chance to buy their homes at market rates.

Housing New Zealand say 2000 formal applications have been made since the scheme began in September last year and 22 homes have been sold.

The Labour Party says the offer of home ownership is meaningless to state tenants, because the Government is not providing them with the financial assistance they need to qualify for a mortgage.

But Mr Heatley says the Government always predicted the number taking up the offer would be low. He acknowledges most state tenants do not have the resources, but says the option must be available for those that do.

Tenants Protection Society manager Helen Gatonyi says she has spoken to several people who were keen to take up the Government's offer but were turned down because they couldn't get the small deposit required and wouldn't have been able to service the mortgage.