The Biggest Ever Building Boom

HousingPrime Minister Weekly Column

Helping more young New Zealanders families into their own home is a priority for National. That’s why we’ve just made some important changes to our Kiwi Saver Home Start scheme for first-home buyers. These changes are part of National’s comprehensive housing plan to improve housing supply and affordability.

The Home Start scheme provides government grants to New Zealanders of up to $20,000 per couple to put towards a deposit on their first home, as long as they fall within certain house price and income limits. In order to ensure more people can access these grants, we’ve now increased the house price and income limits. From 1 August, the house price limits increased by $50,000 for existing homes and $100,000 for new build homes right across the country. These changes will help more first home buyers get a foot on the property ladder, including in Auckland.

According to independent QV data, around 30 per cent of all house sales in Auckland during the first three months of 2016 were below the new Auckland Home Start house price limits of $600,000 for existing homes. Similar figures for the high demand areas of Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch showed between 46 and 71 per cent of all house sales in the year to March in those cities were below their new Home Start house price limits of $500,000 for existing homes.

Since the Kiwi Saver Home Start scheme started last year, it’s helped more than 15,000 New Zealanders across the country into their first home – not just in the main cities but also in the regions – and it’s expected to help around 90,000 people over five years. National’s comprehensive housing plan is delivering results – we’re now in the middle of the biggest building boom New Zealand has ever seen. And it’s about to grow even more. Latest building consent figures just out show over 29,000 homes were consented across the country in the past year – a 12-year high. This included more than 9,600 homes consented in Auckland – more than double the number of five years ago. The latest independent Construction Pipeline Report predicts Auckland’s residential building work will grow by another 58 per cent by 2018.

That would mean adding another 40,000 houses every three years to Auckland right through until 2022 – that’s almost another Dunedin every three years. To help meet this demand for new housing and construction, we are supporting the industry to train more skilled workers. There are currently 38,000 people in training for construction jobs across the country and we’re funding an extra 8,000 apprentices and trades training places over the next four years. National is committed to continuing to build on this momentum and helping more New Zealand families get ahead.