New buyers to benefit

Some 4500 new first-home buyers in Dunedin, 700 in Queenstown and 2500 in Invercargill will benefit from the new KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme over the next five years, the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) estimates.

Housing Minister Nick Smith announced the $218 million housing package on Sunday.

REINZ Otago-Southland spokeswoman Liz Nidd said if the new policy ''doubles our numbers, obviously we will be smiling''.

That comment comes as the volume of sales for Dunedin in June was the lowest for a winter month since 1992 - when the statistics were first collected.

''The market's been seriously hit on volume. But we are seeing some far more hopeful numbers of properties coming to market over the last three weeks ... but it has been a long, cold and hard winter.''

Statistics from MBIE showed Dunedin recorded the highest KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy uptake in provincial New Zealand, with 347, during 2013-14.

That old subsidy was $1000 for each year a person had been contributing to KiwiSaver, up to a maximum of $5000 for five years, with couples able to qualify for $10,000 over the same period.

The new changes include a higher grant for those eligible under the scheme to buy a new

house of $10,000 per person, or $20,000 per couple.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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