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Speaking in the resort, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the HomeStart and Welcome Home Loan house price caps for the area would be increased to $600,000 for existing homes and $650,000 for new builds.
“Queenstown Lakes District has the highest median house price in New Zealand, so it makes sense that it also has the highest HomeStart house price cap, alongside Auckland, to give buyers a fair chance at accessing the grant,” Mr Twyford said.
He said the previous HomeStart price caps of $500,000 for existing homes and $550,000 for new builds meant it was ''virtually impossible'' for first-home buyers to access the grants.
“Only 7% of all house sales in Queenstown Lakes were below $550,000 in the year to March 2018. By comparison, 23% of house sales in Auckland were below its $650,000 HomeStart new build price cap, and between 24% and 99% of house sales were below the price cap in other Territorial Authorities.
“I’m pleased that we’re able to make this adjustment for Queenstown, to open up access to Government assistance to more first-home buyers in one of our most expensive areas for purchasing a home.
He said the changes were the result of a request from National’s Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, who wrote to him highlighting the discrepancy between Auckland and Queenstown’s HomeStart price caps.
“The majority of grants currently paid out in Queenstown Lakes are for new builds, so this adjustment to the price caps is also expected to complement housing supply, particularly as our KiwiBuild programme ramps up,” he said.
The changes to the HomeStart and Welcome Home Loan house price caps for Queenstown Lakes District will come into effect from Monday, September 17.