Housing New Zealand Changes - 2015

27 March 2015

As of the 1/4/2015 there are some significant changes for first home buyers in regards to the ability to access funds from their Kiwisaver, Government Grants and Finance options.  These intitiative are trying to achieve the following:

  • Increase the number of First Home Buyers
  • Increase the number of affordable housing options for First home buyers

There are three main areas  these changes will come in to play:

  1. Replacing the Kiwisaver Fist home Deposit Subsidy with a Kiwisaver HomeStart Grant which should increase the amount of grants paid out and increase the house price limits.  It will also mean that in the case of building a new home or purchasing a newly built home the First home grant that can be accessed is double the current level.
  2. Larger Kiwisaver First Home Withdrawals will be allowed by including the member’s tax credit – enabling the withdrawal of all their Kiwisaver savings with the exception of the Government Contributions
  3. Expanding eligibility for Welcome Home Loans by aligning the house price caps with the new Kiwisaver HomeStart Grant

This all sounds very good but what does it mean to those looking to purchase or build their first home. 

First up it means that the property price cap has been lifted.  In the Eastern Bay of Plenty the property price cap has lifted from $300,000 to $350,000.  This means that in this area we can look for a higher priced property and still access Welcome Home loans and the Homestart. 

If you are looking to purchase a newly built home or build a new home the biggest difference is under the new HomeStart the Grant that you are able to access is double that if you were to purchase an existing home.  This is to encourage people to build and/or developers to market to the First Home Buyer within these price brackets.  Housing NZ definition of a “newly built house” will be based around time frames.  They define it as being:

  • When purchasing a vacant residential section a new dwelling must be built within 12 months of the purchase being settled
  • When purchasing a house and land package off the plans a new dwelling must be built within 12 months of the date on which the first home buyer entered into an agreement to purchase the house and land package
  • When purchasing an apartment off the plans, the new apartment must be built within 18 months of the date on which the first home buyer entered in to an agreement to purchase the apartment. 

People are able to access more from the Kiwisaver which can further boost funds to put towards the purchase.

It should be noted that since the Reserve Bank regulations restricting lenders on their low equity lending most banks have adjusted their lending books to fit within the requirements.  Now lenders are looking to lend above that 80% mark and we have seen a more flexible approach making finance for clients with smaller deposits easier.  Even on building projects.  With these initiatives coming in to play we anticipate a lift in the markets starting with the First Home Buyers.


Published In Whakatane Beacon

This post was written by

Trish Marsden - who has written 96 posts

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