Homes to go on open market

These 20 terrace houses are among the 211 KiwiBuild houses in Wanaka's Northlake subdivision that will be put on the open market. Photo: Mark Price
These 20 terrace houses are among the 211 KiwiBuild houses in Wanaka's Northlake subdivision that will be put on the open market. Photo: Mark Price
The Government believes it ''won't take a haircut'' by putting about 200 KiwiBuild houses in Wanaka on the open market but National housing spokeswoman Judith Collins sees a ''fire sale'' ahead.

''It would be a good opportunity for people who want a ski chalet to buy one as a second home,'' Ms Collins told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

Housing Minister Megan Woods yesterday lifted restrictions on who can buy unsold KiwiBuild houses in Te Kauwhata, Canterbury and at Northlake, in Wanaka.

It would enable the Government to ''reuse'' its capital ''to get more developments under way where there is clear demand'', she said in a press release.

A spokesman for the minister said the houses in Northlake were similar to others on the market which had been selling ''at the KiwiBuild price point''.

Last October then-housing minister Phil Twyford announced 211 KiwiBuild houses would be built in Northlake in the following two years.

Of the 10 completed, the Government has bought five as part of the underwriting arrangement with the developer.

Another 20 terrace houses are under construction and have been on offer to KiwiBuild-qualifying buyers for a month at between $635,000 and $650,000.

At last report, on August 21, none had sold.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand spokeswoman Gail Hudson said rather than the price being the reason for the lack of interest, it was that restrictions on buyers were ''too onerous''.

''One of the biggest problems was that if you qualified, you couldn't have a flatmate in.''

Because many younger people were not in high-paying jobs, and had few savings, they needed a flatmate paying rent, she said.

The margin between a KiwiBuild house and a house on the open market was ''so small'' there was no reason for buyers to take a KiwiBuild house.

Ms Hudson said the Government would be ''shooting itself in the foot'' if it put all the houses on the market at the same time.

A spokeswoman for Northlake developer Winton said the company supported the Government's intention to increase the housing stock.

''We welcome the changes to the KiwiBuild programme to make it more effective in helping as many people as possible.''

mark.price@odt.co.nz

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