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Hobsonville highlights HomeStart opportunities

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Housing

25 August 2014 Media Statement

Hobsonville highlights HomeStart opportunities

A visit to Hobsonville Point was made today by Prime Minister John Key and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith to highlight the opportunities for the Government's new KiwiSaver HomeStart package to improve home ownership for Aucklanders.

"Hobsonville is just the sort of development where recipients of our new KiwiSaver HomeStart grant will be able to buy their first home. We have up to 3000 new homes coming on-stream here over the next 10 years, of which at least 20 to 25 per cent will be within the new $550,000 house price cap for Auckland under KiwiSaver HomeStart and the Welcome Home Loans," Dr Smith says.

Hobsonville is former Defence Force land that is being developed by Housing New Zealand subsidiary Hobsonville Land Company. The first sod for housing was turned in 2002 by the then-Labour Prime Minister but no further work was carried out as the project became mired in planning disputes.

The National Government revived a housing plan for the land in 2010, and the land was included in one of Auckland's 63 Special Housing Areas under the new Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act in 2013. Earthworks were consented a week later and now 444 houses and sections have been sold. A further 350 houses are to be sold in 2014/15 with development partners. Beyond these 3000 houses, there is also a further 2000 proposed on adjacent private land in a Scott’s Point development that has been approved as a Special Housing Area.

The development also includes parks, playgrounds, cycleways, walking tracks, a farmers market and new schools. Last year the Mayor of Auckland and the Prime Minister opened the new ferry terminal and service to downtown Auckland.

“The practical effect of HomeStart at Hobsonville is that a first home buyer can now purchase a three-bedroom house. The previous house price cap of $485,000 meant that first home buyers could not access previous grants or the Welcome Home Loan for the dozens of three-bedroom properties at Hobsonville on sale in the $520,000 $540,000 range,” Dr Smith says.

"The hard part for young people who are on modest incomes and trying to buy into a subdivision like Hobsonville is getting the money together for a deposit. Our KiwiSaver HomeStart means that couples will now have access to a grant of up to $20,000 if they have been in KiwiSaver for five years. They will also have access to a greater portion of their savings in KiwiSaver. A typical couple each earning $50,000 a year will have, with no other savings, a $55,000 deposit and be able to secure a Welcome Home Loan for a $550,000 home.

"I am confident we are going to see hundreds of young Aucklanders accessing the new KiwiSaver HomeStart so they can purchase their first home in Hobsonville. I also expect this development to now advance even faster with the additional buyers in the market.

"An important objective of KiwiSaver HomeStart is to encourage more housing companies to build new houses in the price range affordable to first home buyers. Hobsonville has shown it is possible to provide good quality, more compact housing that is affordable. The flexibility and speed of the Special Housing Areas legislation combined with KiwiSaver HomeStart opens the door to many more developments like Hobsonville across Auckland," Dr Smith concluded.

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