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$180,000 cap on income and residence requirements

Kiwibuild buyer criteria include $180,000 cap on income and residence requirements

By Sophie Boot

July 4 (BusinessDesk) - KiwiBuild home buyers will be required to live in their properties for at least three years and have an income cap of $180,000, according to criteria released today.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced the criteria this morning, after the first year of the building programme officially began on July 1. Buyers must be first-home buyers or ‘second chancers’; must be New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or ordinarily reside in New Zealand; and have income below $120,000 for sole purchasers or $180,000 for couples.

"We know that New Zealanders at and below these incomes are struggling to buy a home, especially in high demand areas such as Auckland and Queenstown," Twyford said. "For instance a couple of teachers may have a combined income of between $150,000 and $170,000. For a nurse and police officer earning upwards of $120,000, and for an engineer living alone, $90,000. A decade ago these families would have been able to afford a home, but they are now locked out of the market."

Houses will be allocated by ballot due to anticipated demand, Twyford said. At a media briefing last week he suggested preference might also be given to would-be buyers who already live in the area where Kiwibuild houses are developed, to prevent gentrification, but this was not mentioned in the announcement this morning.

The cap on what Kiwibuild houses can cost is between $500,000 and $650,000 in Auckland and Queenstown, depending on the number of bedrooms, and $500,000 for the rest of the country. Twyford has said he's focused on that as a limit, not a target, with plans to sell the first 30 Kiwibuild three-bedroom homes in Papakura for about $579,000.

The announcement this morning also says that second chance buyers cannot have assets over 20 percent of the house price cap for existing properties in their area, meaning $120,000 for Auckland and either $100,000 and $80,000 over the rest of New Zealand.

Kiwbuild owners can have flatmates or rent out their spare rooms, as long as they live on the property. They will have to apply for permission to sell the property before the three-year minimum.

Twyford said the government is "also working on a number of programmes to complement Kiwibuild and enable more families to take advantage of the Kiwibuild programme. In particular, we are investigating a progressive home ownership scheme – a joint NZ First, Labour and Greens commitment."

Anyone can register their interest in Kiwbuild and there will be a separate pre-qualification process to determine whether someone is eligible to buy a Kiwibuild home, with more information to be provided when the houses are close to being finished, he said.



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