One of the biggest promises made by the coalition government was the spectacle made around KiwiBuild, which when announced was promised to build 1000 news,es by the end of its first year, which as of January was pushed back to around 300, while still promising to reach its ten year goal of 100,000.
Jacinda Ardern’s government pushed for big changes in the property industry, with a big push of getting first time buyers into homes, of which the KiwiBuild scheme was developed. The scheme plan was pitched as “restoring the dream of home ownership to families throughout New Zealand, by providing eligible first home buyers with exclusive access to a range of fixed price modest starter homes.” They proposed to achieve this by supporting developers to build more quality, affordable houses, and connecting them with eligible KiwiBuild buyers through a ballot process – which applicants had to meet a certain amount of requirements.
But the project has had its strong opposition from the start, and with its recent setbacks, has only grown stronger. Some of the examples used by the opposition was that many of the houses were built or were being built before the launch, that the promised target were unachievable and more recently the government have had to buy back some of the properties that haven’t sold.
But housing minister Phil Twyford stands by the scheme and even more so after a recent recalibration. The Housing Minister insists he’s on track to meet his scaled back KiwiBuild target of 300 homes in the first year – despite delays to 20 apartments in Lower Hutt due for completion by July. 100 KiwiBuild ho,es were announced to be underway in Queenstown, an area that has been strict with high prices due to increased tourism.
Twyford has claimed that the lacklustre pickup for the “buying off the plans” scheme is the main culprit for the first missed target. He was also keen to make sure the deal was as good as it could be for first-home buyers. There had been a lack of demand for the houses in some areas. Twyford has stood by some major parts of the scheme, indicating that while some parts of the policy could be changed there were some non-negotiables: the 100,000 target over 10 years, the fact that it is for first-home buyers, and the role of the state as both a mega-developer and a partner of business.
It will be interesting to see where the scheme lands after July and if it has had the promised effect on the market and if it has attracted first time buyers. Many will be keeping a close eye on the scheme as it develops.