What is KiwiBuild? And Who Can Buy A KiwiBuild Property?

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What is KiwiBuild?
KiwiBuild is a government supported programme with the intention to build 100,000 “affordable” homes in New Zealand over the next ten years – 50% off them in Auckland. The purpose of KiwiBuild is to increase home ownership of New Zealanders, which data suggests has dropped from 75% to 63% since 1991. Purchasers will need to meet eligibility criteria in order to be able to purchase KiwiBuild properties.
KiwiBuild Eligibility Requirements

The KiwiBuild eligibility requirements are the easiest  to meet of the four schemes supported by the Government to help first home buyers purchase their first property -92% of first home buyers should meet the income eligibility criteria. So what are the criteria for purchasing a KiwiBuild home and how do you go about meeting eligibility criteria to purchase one? 

1. Citizenship/ Residency requirements
To be eligible to purchase a KiwiBuild property, applicants must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

2. KiwiBuild Income cap
Applicants must earn:
• $120,000 or less for an individual
• $180,000 or less for a couple
(The Government states that this would currently make 92% of first home buyers eligible to purchase a KiwiBuild property)

3. Asset Cap
There is no asset cap for first home buyers (i.e. you can have savings/assets of any amount). (There is an asset cap for “second chancers”).

KiwiBuild Second Chancers
There is an asset cap for “second chancers”.
A “second chancer” is categorised as someone who may have previously owned property but is now in a similar financial position to a first home buyer. Examples of these kinds of people would be those who have separated/divorced or those who have owned property but have had to sell the property due to financial circumstances and find themselves with a smaller home deposit.

To qualify, the assets of so-called “second chancers” will need to be:
• $120,000 or less in Auckland, or
• $100,000 or less in Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Nelson City, Tasman District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District, Queenstown Lakes District: or
• $80,000 for the rest of new Zealand.

4. Requirement to live in the property
Those who purchase a KiwiBuild property will need to live in it for at least three years before selling it or renting it out as an investment property. As long as the purchasers are living in the property, they will be allowed to rent out rooms to flatmates during that three year period.

How much will KiwiBuild houses cost to buy?
In Auckland and Queenstown KiwiBuild houses will cost:
• Three or four bedroom homes $650,000 or less
• Two bedroom homes $600,000 or less
• One bedroom homes $500,00 or less

Outside of Auckland and Queenstown
• All sizes of property $500,000 or less

How many Kiwibuild house will be built?
The scheme aims to have built:
• 1,000 homes by July 2019
• 9,000 by 2021
• 100,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years

 The intention is that at least 50,000 of the KiwiBuild homes will be built in Auckland.

Who gets a to buy a KiwiBuild property?
Once a potential KiwiBuild purchaser has been accepted as meeting the entry criteria (as listed above) they will be entered into a ballot.

As the KiwiBuild properties become available for sale, eligible potential purchasers will be selected from the ballot and those selected will be given the first opportunity to purchase the property.

This process will continue as more KiwiBuild homes are completed.

 How do you Register for KiwiBuild?
The pre-qualification process is not yet open, but you can register your interest to find out more about KiwiBuild as the information becomes available by submitting an online form here.

To register your interest to receive more info, you will be asked to supply:
• your name
• email address
• the areas of interest for you purchase (i.e. which part of the country you want to buy a Kiwibuild property in)
• your preferred number of bedrooms (1-4)

If you are unable to submit the form via the KiwiBuild website, it can be printed out and posted to: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Attn: KiwiBuild Unit PO Box 1473 Wellington 6140

You do not have to meet edibility criteria to register interest in the programme, and you can register interest on behalf of someone else.

How do I prove my eligibility?
The government has not yet released details regarding eligibility criteria, but Smith and Partners believe that it is highly likely that the scheme will use a similar programme to either the Axis Series affordable home programme at Hobsonville Point or the HomeStart Grant process.

Both of these programmes require:
• a solicitor to certify a statutory declaration made by the potential purchasers regarding their eligibility, and
• be supplied with supporting documentation such as bank statements, pay slips and identity documents (passports etc.).

What other assistance is there to purchase a first home?
First home buyers (and second chancers) should also be assessing their eligibility to access Kiwisaver First Home Withdrawals, KiwiSaver HomeStart Grants and Welcome Home Loans. Each of these programmes have different eligibility criteria, and they can all be used in conjunction with KiwiBuild.

For further advice on how to purchase your first home - from finance through to understanding the conveyancing process, contact expert property lawyer, Wade Hansen by email at wade.hansen@smithpartners.co.nz or by phone on 09 837 6885.