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More Kiwis eligible for HomeStart scheme

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/07/2016
A for sale sign outside at the Riverhead housing development in Auckland © Getty Images/Hannah Peters A for sale sign outside at the Riverhead housing development in Auckland

More Kiwis will now be able to access KiwiSaver HomeStart loans, the housing minister has announced.

The scheme started on April 1 and provides grants of up to $10,000 towards the deposit for the purchase of an existing home and grants of up to $20,000 for a newly built home.

Housing Minister Nick Smith has announced that from Monday the income caps will increase from $80,000 to $85,000 for a single person, and from $120,000 to $130,000 for a couple.

The house price caps in each region would also increase by $50,000 to reflect the rise in the national median house price since the scheme began, he said.

"These changes are about deliberately screwing the scrum in the housing market in favour of first home buyers," he said.

A couple on an average income each of $60,000 could potentially afford a $650,000 home, by withdrawing $45,000 from five years invested in KiwiSaver, getting a $20,000 HomeStart grant for buying a new build, and being eligible for a Welcome Home Loan with a 10 per cent deposit, he said.

The minister told TVNZ's Q&A the increased house price caps would allow first home buyers to get a "starter home".

"I don't think we should be creating the expectation that a person's first home is going to be that gorgeous North Shore or Remuera home."

HOUSE PRICE CAP INCREASES

* $600,000 to $650,000 in Auckland

*$500,000 to $550,000 in Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Queenstown and Nelson-Tasman

*$400,000 to $450,000 in all other areas

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