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Labour policy to target first homebuyers

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/04/2017

First homebuyers will be the target of Labour's Kiwibuild programme, but they'd have to commit to living in their new home for at least five years, leader Andrew Little says.

The programme aims to build 100,000 affordable homes, increasing housing stock and stabilising property prices.

"There is only one answer to the housing crisis and that is build more bloody houses, that's what we're doing to do," Mr Little said on Tuesday.

Kiwibuild properties would be priced between $550,000 and $600,000 and would be targeted directly at first homebuyers, he said.

"You are going to have to test people on whether or not they own a current property and they'll be required to sign up to a commitment to be in the property for at least five years," he said.

A penalty for leaving early is a part of the policy still under development.

"We'll work that out but you're not going to be part of a scheme to get an affordable home and not meet the obligations that go with it, and if you're going to do that then we'll have to make sure that you pay a top-up fee or whatever," he said.

But there could be exceptions to penalties, and it's still to be determined if those houses would then have to be on-sold to first homebuyers.

Mr Little anticipates a three-year ramp up period if Labour wins the election in September.

The housing policy would also include targeting overseas speculators and negative gearing.

"We are totally committed to making sure that if you live overseas and want to own a house here you have to build a new house, and we will go after negative gearing rules because we've got to dampen down the speculators who are driving up prices in the market," Mr Little said.

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