Rotorua Daily Post: Rotorua families getting into their first home

Saturday, November 28, 2015

An increasing number of local people have been able to buy their first home as a result of recently implemented and upgraded government programmes to get people onto the property ladder. Many more local couples could be eligible.

The Rotorua property market has started to move in recent months and we are seeing investment and development in many areas.  Forestry and wood processing is growing, there are at least two big mills expanding or being build. It's great news that locally grown timber is having value added before being exported.

Tourism has had one of its best years for some time and all indications are that this is going to continue. New Zealand has had 3 million international visitors this year for the first time. More and more people are choosing New Zealand as a holiday destination, and Rotorua is right up there as a must visit location.

The engineering and transportation sectors are all doing well with local owners telling me they are employing more qualified people as quickly as they can find them. New buildings in and around the CBD are all starting to come online. I'm looking forward to opening the new Countdown supermarket on Fairy Springs Road next week, an important investment in Rotorua by a very big company.

There is renewed confidence in our business sector, and rightly so. Rotorua had one of the highest levels of GDP growth this year of anywhere in the country. Oh, and interest rates are at an all-time low.

With all of this in mind, the time could be right for you to look towards your first home.

Buying a home is often the biggest single purchase a person makes in their life time, and for many New Zealanders, purchasing your first home is a significant milestone. A home is not only a stable asset, but often the base around which strong and happy families are created and maintained. The family is important and stable families’ can lead to better outcomes for young people. That’s why the Government has increased support for them in 2015.

Earlier this year, as Minister of Revenue, I was responsible for guiding a bill through the Parliament making changes to rules around KiwiSaver withdrawals. Some new figures released during the week show that these changes are helping more young people in Rotorua into their first home, with over $529,000 worth of support being granted to over 100 local people. That's 100 people more who now own their first home than one year ago.

KiwiSaver HomeStart is part of the Government’s wider programme to improve housing supply and affordability.

The Bill made it possible for eligible KiwiSaver members to access more of the funds they’ve saved for a deposit on their first home. A young couple buying their first home and who have both contributed to KiwiSaver for five or more years can receive up to $35,000 and $45,000 of savings and grants towards a deposit.

We doubled the HomeStart grant to $20,000 for a couple purchasing a newly built home, and up to $10,000 on an existing home. This will open the door for 90,000 young New Zealanders over the next five years to buy their own home.

By extending the withdrawal rules, KiwiSaver members can also withdraw their own and their employers contributions as well as the KiwiSaver member tax credit paid by the Government. In total, depending on their combined income, a couple could be in line for up to $20,000 from their savings and an additional $5,000 from the government contribution to put towards their first home

KiwiSaver is a scheme to help people save for their future. It's there to ensure you have the funds needed for the later years. With these changes it now means some of these saving can go towards a first home. If you'd like information on HomeStart give my electorate office a call on 07 348 5871.