The New Zealand Housing Foundation, Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, and other housing providers have been constructing or developing over 150 homes as part of the government’s Progressive Home Ownership (PHO) program.
The government introduced the $400 million PHO program with two providers in Auckland and Queenstown in July 2020 to support low- to medium-income families struggling to pay a home deposit or mortgage. Last month, the opposition criticised the scheme after finding that only 12 families had moved into new homes since its launch.
KiwiBuy Coalition chair Dominic Foote acknowledged that progress had been slow as government agencies and officials had no previous experience or knowledge in delivering a PHO program with housing support. However, the scheme is now gathering pace following its launch aimed at low-income families, the first to receive long-term government commitment and financial backing.
The community providers have been working with the government but insisted that more people can be assisted if funding is increased and extended annually.
“We’ve been advocating for government to fund these internationally tested and accepted PHO products which the community housing sector has been using for the past 20 years,” Foote said.
“Between us, we’ve delivered new shared equity, rent-to-buy, and leasehold homes along with housing supports, enabling thousands of families who previously had no hope of owning their home to become homeowners. There has never been more demand for our PHO products and new homes.”
Foote said they are already constructing and developing homes in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Nelson, Wellington, and Queenstown. They are ready to scale up their work when the government announces phase two.
“Housing need across New Zealand is wide-ranging and substantial,” he continued. “The progress could be faster, but let’s save the criticism for when nothing is happening, rather than kick the dirt and knock out the fast-growing plant of Progressive Home Ownership.”