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Sallies Want Action So Kiwis Can Own Own Homes

Sallies urge action so Kiwi Families can still own their own home

New Zealand’s declining rate of homeownership is a problem, both economically and socially, but there are options available that can reverse this trend and make homeownership a reality for many low and modest income households who are currently priced out of the market.

This is the key message of a report From Housing to Homes released today by The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.

“The number of New Zealand households able to own their own home is declining. This is a problem because homeownership brings financial and social benefits to the homeowners and society as a whole,” said Major Campbell Roberts, Director of The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.

“Homeownership provides stable and secure housing, and a sense of belonging and commitment to the community. It also encourages savings and asset accumulation and can help prevent people falling into poverty. When homeownership rates decline, we have a reduction in all these important social and economic benefits.”

“Promoting and assisting people into homeownership used to be an important part of government housing policy. It needs to become so again,” said Major Roberts.

From Housing to Homes outlines a number of policy options that government could use to assist low and modest income households into homeownership. These options include shared equity, right-to-buy, landlease for key workers, and supported savings.

“The good news is that there are a range of practical and implementable policy options available that can help people who are currently shut out of homeownership. Shared equity, right-to-buy, land lease and supported savings schemes are all already operating internationally in other similar nations, with shared equity working on a small scale in New Zealand,” said Major Roberts.

“We have explored a number of policy options because it is important that we have a range of programmes. One policy lever will never meet the diverse needs of New Zealand’s varied households and housing markets.”

In putting forward the policy options, the report recognises the costs and risks involved.

“We know these options have costs. They will require increased funding from government. But we believe that the benefits outweigh the costs, and the reality is that without government assistance, an increasing number of low and modest income households will be excluded from homeownership.”

“What is needed now is commitment from government to do detailed work on the options so that more New Zealanders can recapture the Kiwi dream of a place of their own,” concluded Major Roberts.

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