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Rob Emmett hopes to use his KiwiSaver to buy his first house.

Twenty million dollars worth of support is being offered to the Bay of Plenty in a new housing scheme.

Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith visited the Bay region last night to talk to locals about HomeStart, a scheme which gives young adults more opportunities to buy their own homes.

Dr Nick Smith said MPs Simon Bridges and Todd Muller believed there were housing affordability issues in Tauranga and not just Auckland.

“They have pointed out, over the last 12 to 18 months, we are starting to see housing costs in Tauranga rise, so we are budgeting for this scheme to provide $20 million worth of support for first-home buyers in Tauranga city and the Western Bay of Plenty over the next five years.”

Dr Smith said the scheme was complicated.

“With a combination of KiwiSaver withdrawal, the HomeStart grants and the Welcome Home Loans, we want to get in front of people and explain how each of those three components work, so that people can work out for their own circumstances how they can get themselves into a home.”

Dr Smith said there had been a dramatic drop in the number of Bay of Plenty homeowners under the age of 40.

“Between 2001 and 2013, home ownership among people under the age of 35 had dropped by 35 per cent …

“The toughest hurdle for young people getting into a home is pulling together that original deposit and that is why this scheme is very much around trying to help them.”

The scheme will enable people to withdraw all of their KiwiSaver funds, receive a HomeStart grant and give people the opportunity of a Welcome Home loan which exempts them from the Reserve Bank’s 20 per cent deposit requirement and allows them to get into a home with a 10 per cent deposit, he said.

“If you take a Tauranga couple on the average wage: If they have been in KiwiSaver for a period of five years they would have built up $25,000 in their KiwiSaver grants. With the HomeStart grant, they will be eligible for a grant from the Government of $20,000 which means they have a deposit of $45,000. Then with the Welcome Home loan they only need a 10 per cent deposit so now they are in the market place to buy a home worth $450,000, and that is with no other savings.”

Rob Emmett, 32, went to the information evening to find out what he could or could not do with his KiwiSaver.

Mr Emmett said he had been with KiwiSaver for almost five years and was keen to buy his own home in the near future.

“It would be good to learn about it all before I go to the bank and get taken for a ride and know what I can do.”

Ideally, he would like to buy a home in Otumoetai but sensibly thought the Lakes would be a good investment with all the infrastructure going in there.

Housing approved

Two Special Housing Areas with the potential for 210 new homes in Tauranga were approved yesterday by the Cabinet, Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith announced.

The two areas in Papamoa and Ohauiti were approved by the Tauranga City Council on March 17 and recommended to the Housing Minister.

The sign-off meant resource consents for housing in the two areas could be fast-tracked, Mr Smith said.

“These two additional areas add to the seven announced in February this year, and bring the combined capacity of homes arising from the Government’s Housing Accord with the Tauranga City Council to 1900.”

The largest area signed off was a 20.95-hectare section on Adler Drive, Ohauiti that would fit 180 homes. The other was Sunshine Paradise on Domain Rd, Papamoa. The 0.6ha section would fit 36 homes.

Mr Smith commended the work of the Tauranga City Council in advancing the Special Housing Areas.

“There is growing evidence that the housing pressures affecting Auckland are spreading to centres like Tauranga and Hamilton, and we need to free up land to bring new supply on stream,” he said.

“The next key step in our programme is the second phase of Resource Management Act reforms to address the long-term issues affecting housing supply and affordability.”

By Ruth Keber