Politically Correct: Late-stage party promises target first-home buyers

Both party leaders have made home affordability a priority.
STUFF

Both party leaders have made home affordability a priority.

OPINION: It's a tough world - the housing market. 

But none find it so dispiriting, difficult and exhausting as the first-home buyer. They're a resilient breed, but having had the figurative front door shut on them many times over leaves a mark. 

National knows this and has made a late play to reach into the gift bag - not forgetting that early voting begins today and those motivated enough to hop aboard the real estate carousel, are usually also motivated enough to cast a ballot. 

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What has National promised first home buyers? 

A $20,000 to $30,000 sweetener to boost the existing Home Start Grant. That means couples hoping to buy an existing home would be eligible for a $20,000 Government grant to go towards their deposit, while single homebuyers could get $15,000.

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Bill English says the government will double its contribution to couples hoping to get into their first home.

For couples looking at buying a new-build home, they could have a $30,000 grant to go towards it. National predict their policy would help 80,000 first home buyers onto the property ladder over the next four years.

The policy would cost $74m annually over the next four years, and be available from January 1 if National retains power. 

Sounds great, are both parties offering it? 

No, that's the catch - for that one, you have to vote National. Labour's Jacinda Ardern has already thrown cold water on the idea, saying there weren't enough houses and it would drive up prices.

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Although she said she would keep the existing first-start grant policy. 

Ardern says the only way to help first home buyers is to build more homes. Labour promises to build 100,000 affordable homes under its Kiwibuild policy and Ardern confirmed work on the programme would get started in her first 100 days.

There are questions over how Labour would build that many homes under its proposed immigration policy and with the shortage of construction workers. But Ardern said other measures would also help. 

That included fast-tracked legislation to ban foreign buyers and a tax working group, which may or may not call for a capital gains tax that Labour is refusing to rule out accepting. 

Did Labour have anything else to announce? 

Not specifically, but they did hold a presidential-style campaign rally in Wellington where Ardern laid out her first 100-day plan. The importance of affordable houses was elevated to number one on her list - meaning foreign buyers would be banned by Christmas. 

She also said she would implement Labour's family support package by July 1 next year, increase the minimum wage to $16.50 and locking in the goal of zero carbon emissions.

 - Stuff

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