The government has been urged to increase its support of shared equity and rent-to-buy schemes run by community housing providers – campaigns which have already proven successful in getting New Zealanders into home ownership, according to a group of organisations including the New Zealand Housing Foundation, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and Community Housing Aotearoa.
The organisations have banded together to run the ‘KiwiBuy’ campaign, which is urging the government to adopt these schemes on a broader level and help lower income earners achieve home ownership.
According to KiwiBuy campaign director Campbell Roberts, the number of buyers purchasing community housing provider homes is still relatively small, but could increase substantially if the government were to throw its weight behind the various schemes already available.
“Getting into your own home in New Zealand is a complicated business,” Roberts said. “High-income households often have resources and support that assists them to achieve homeownership. However, for lower-income families, it is far more challenging.”
“Community Housing Providers bridge the gap by providing supports as part of their house building operations, including financial planning, ownership education and ongoing homeowner support and mentoring,” he explained. “Three families each week move into new homes, built for them by community housing providers. The numbers are small at present, but if Government adopt these schemes for their programmes and also funds community organisations to scale up their operations, many more Kiwi families could be in their own home in the next five years.”
Roberts says that although the government has expressed support for its rent-to-buy and shared equity programmes, they appear to be “dragging the chain” in helping to scale them up. He also noted that the government’s main means of addressing the housing crisis – KiwiBuild – seems to be struggling, and that homes are still outside of the affordability range for most New Zealanders.
“If the Government placed some of their KiwiBuild houses with community housing providers, their shared equity and rent to Buy schemes would see families with incomes over $50,00 in homes of their own,” he stated.