17 May 2018

KiwiBuild homes now unobtainable for many

7:52 am on 17 May 2018

Aucklanders earning less than six figures are unlikely to be able to buy one of the government's KiwiBuild homes.

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Photo: 123RF

The KiwiBuild programme aims to build 100,000 affordable houses over the next decade, half of which are supposed to be in Auckland.

But the government's admitted this week that the price tag for a three-bedroom KiwiBuild house in the country's largest city had risen to about $650,000

Auckland mortgage broker Bruce Patten said the first-home buyers he deals with in east Auckland, while often on middle to higher incomes, often need financial help from family and are spending way above that amount.

"There's nothing in our area that you'd buy for less than $750,000-$800,000, and that would be a unit, two bedrooms joined to something else. So they're taking significant mortgages to be able to get that. But then again, their combined income would $150,000 plus."

Even at the $650,000 mark he said many would be challenged by repayments.

"For a single couple with no children and no other debts, they'd still need in excess of $100,000 combined income to borrow 90 percent on a $650,000 purchase price. So it's still, relatively speaking, what I would consider not overly affordable.

"You're talking a relative monthly payment somewhere just over $3000 per month. So if you look at that on a weekly basis, you're probably talking over $700 a week. Still quite a considerable amount of money to be outlaying as a first home repayment."

He said it was bad news for those going it alone.

"For a single applicant to buy a first home in Auckland now, it's unobtainable ... as a single person it'd be almost impossible."

However he said compared to the $1 million average house price in Auckland it was 'relatively affordable' and any more homes at that price point was a good thing.

"It would be a great thing to get more houses at that rate."

Lesley Harris from the website The First Home Buyers Club said people were struggling to get the money needed.

"For somebody to afford a $650,000 home, they've got some savings, they've got KiwiSaver, let's say they're needing to borrow $500,000 or just over, they're going to need approximately $115,000 income plus no debt, plus no student loans, in order to be able to get the finance to afford that home.

She said since the start of the year banks had tightened lending which didn't help those on the fringes to be able to afford it.

"If they're needing to service a mortgage and they need $114,000 to service a $500,000 mortgage, if they only have $112,000, chances are they'll actually be declined by the bank. So that's a very, very, very different landscape to what we've seen a number of years ago."

Ms Harris said trying to find properties in Auckland at that price point was like trying to find a needle in a haystack so having more through KiwiBuild was a starting point.

"Our membership is growing nine to ten registered members on a daily basis so you can see just the need and in some cases just a real desperation, and a bit of a despair, about how on earth they're going to get into the property market."

Nevertheless, she said it wasn't impossible and they were seeing people getting into their first home on the daily.

"It can be done but it's done with some sacrifices. You may not get that four bedroom home on a full site, there's compromises in terms of the types of product. There are compromises in terms of, if it's two people, both partners working and potentially putting off having children."

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