​Phil Twyford reveals $2b KiwiBuild housing scheme

Oct 26, 2017 | News

The just-announced Housing Minister told the NZ Herald how labour, skills and land shortages in the over-stretched, under-delivering, under-resourced high-priced housing market were planned to be resolved by his regime which will change immigration laws and form public private partnerships with business like Fletcher Residential and Mike Greer Homes.

In the coming three years, KiwiBuild aims to gradually ramp up to 10,000 a year, high-quality affordable new residences for first-home buyers, half in Auckland, to build 100,000 residences in a decade.

Twyford said it would take about three years for the programme to kick into full-strength, starting out at a few hundred or possibly 1000 residences in the first year. Auckland’s Hobsonville Point is the model the Government will use to duplicate that precinct throughout Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Queenstown and potentially other areas where first-home buyers struggled, he said.

A powerful new Affordable Housing Authority would be formed to act like the Hobsonville Land Company (now called Homes. Land. Community), a Housing NZ subsidiary, building one new home a day and planning at least 4500 residences for about 11,000 people once it is finished on Auckland’s north-west fringes.

Twyford outlined how there would be three ways the Government would implement KiwiBuild:

First, by stepping into already-under way schemes like Hobsonville Point and securing a large number of planned new residences there;
Second by buying off-the-plan units in planned developments like new high-rise Auckland CBD apartment blocks;
Third by creating its own development sites and bringing in group house builders, particularly on Crown-owned land.

Apartment/terraced housing developers and first-home buyers struggle to get bank funding but he said KiwiBuild could be a huge assistance, taking off-the-plan units before construction started.

“The Government will under-write or buy off-the-plan dwellings in new private developments, eg Hobsonville Point and others, by purchasing 30 to 40 per cent of the terraced and apartments that fit the KiwiBuild criteria. Buying off-the-plans is thereby guaranteeing high-quality affordable homes and we would then on-sell them to first home buyers. That would de-risk many developments, give what a problem financing has been for first home buyers and for developers.

“The rationale for KiwiBuild is that the market on its own has really struggled to deliver affordable homes. We want to be able to deliver medium-density townhouses and terraced housing for $500,000 and under and stand-alone homes, mostly on the fringes such as Auckland’s north west and the south, for $600,000 but most products will not be stand-alone.

Read more here.

In a further interview here with 1 Newson 30 October, Phil Twyford makes his position on homelessness clear:

My goal is to eliminate homelessness and that’s going to be one of my top priorities.”

He was getting advice on why “it’s been so slow for the former government to build that transitional housing that they promised a year ago to tackle the homelessness problem”.

Mr Twyford said the government would stop the “sell-off” of state housing and would launch a “massive” build programme of additional state housing.

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