Community groups call on Government to support 'KiwiBuy' low-income home ownership schemes

Community organisations are calling on the Government to support programmes they say have been "hugely successful" in helping low-income Kiwis into their own homes.

Under a campaign dubbed 'KiwiBuy', The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, New Zealand Housing Foundation and Community Housing Aotearoa want to convince the Government to fund a range of schemes already run by the housing providers.

Campaign director Campbell Roberts said the programmes move families into new homes built by community housing providers, which they can then pay for progressively.

"Community Housing Providers bridge the gap by providing supports as part of their house building operations, including financial planning, ownership education and on-going homeowner support and mentoring," said Roberts.

The various rent to buy and shared equity schemes have been "hugely successful", according to the providers. But they want Government support to help more families.

"The numbers are small at present, but if Government adopt these schemes for their programmes and also funds community organisations to scale up their operations, many more Kiwi families could be in their own home in the next five years."

A shared equity model is where first-home buyers get a mortgage they can afford to service, while a third-party stumps up the remaining amount. The owner can then buy the rest of the house off the third-party when they can afford to.

A rent to buy programme allows renters to pay a small amount towards the house to show banks an ability to save.

Roberts said the Government's KiwiBuild programme was struggling to provide homes to families with incomes under $90,000.

"If the Government placed some of their Kiwibuild houses with community housing providers, their shared equity and rent to buy schemes would see families with incomes over $50,000 in homes of their own."

Scott Figenshow from Community Housing Aotearoa says the providers have proven their approach to housing works.

"We have got a strong track record in that delivery and we think it would be a great partner programme to sit alongside KiwiBuild to make that home ownership option genuinely affordable," he told Newshub.

"Whether it's through progressive ownership, shared equity, the rent to buy programmes, there are a range of tools that really help bring the cost down to a point where it is fully feasible."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told The AM Show that looking at rent to buy and progressive home ownership schemes was part of the Government's work programme.

"We actually have, as part of our confidence and supply agreement with the Greens, a commitment to look at rent to buy schemes, progressive home ownership schemes, we are doing that.

"Like any other housing, you have to either buy it or build it, it's not like these houses are sitting there in the Government's coffers. So there is a cost attached to it, but certainly we are very keen to work with those providers."

But Housing Foundation operations manager Dominic Foote said the Government could be doing more.

"The Government has known about our shared equity programmes… and rent to own programmes for quite a number of years.

"We have not heard anything that says there is a concerted effort to invest a wholesale manner to improve the housing outcomes for New Zealanders."

Foote said KiwiBuild homes weren't affordable to first home buyers.

There are currently 7500 people on the group's registration of interest list.

Anyone who wants to approach the group for a home should register with them and see if they meet criteria, which includes a household income under $100,000, a small deposit and the ability to raise a mortgage.