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Property editor of the NZ Herald

Buyers 'banned' from affordable Auckland homes

One of Auckland's biggest house builders, putting up places for an affordable $578,000, has found many people "banned" because their incomes are too high.

Mike O'Meeghan, who owns the G.J. Gardner franchise for the Franklin and Papakura areas, said work had begun on the first three of 24 new affordable house and land packages in the Belmont subdivision west of the town centre at Pukekohe.

Although two places in the Maxwell Rd subdivision had been sold, most had not been, he said. The places are being developed on land classified as a Special Housing Area, meaning a portion must be affordable and buyers' incomes must not be too high.

"People would usually be lining up at the door to buy them. But they can't qualify, they're banned.

"We've got 57 people we've talked to from our database but 21 couples or households can't qualify because of the income threshold. It's a big frustration.

"Why can't we get that changed? If we're short of houses, why are we putting stringent rules on people's maximum income?" he asked.

Euan Williams, Auckland Council's lead project planner for Special Housing Area consenting, told O'Meeghan that the income thresholds were set in law.

"The income threshold for buyers and other eligibility criteria have been developed and are being applied consistently across the region. The criteria are set down in conditions of consent and consent notices," Williams told O'Meeghan via email.

"With regards to your situation, and for the reasons of consistency and fairness to other SHAs, we are not in a position to alter the conditions of consent and are not minded to deviate from the eligibility criteria," Williams said.

O'Meeghan said although SHA affordability measures were aimed at helping poorer people, the bar had been set too low because the banks would not loan to people on low incomes which allowed them to qualify.

Many buyers cannot qualify to buy new houses at Pukekohe because their incomes are too high.
Many buyers cannot qualify to buy new houses at Pukekohe because their incomes are too high.

People looking at the Pukekohe places did not qualify because they were earning above $104,950 annually as a joint household income, he said.

The residences will be three-bedrooms, many with garages. Eight are planned to be duplexes, two joined at the garage only and 14 are stand-alone. All are on their own fee simple site, 22 have internal access single garages and two have off-street parking areas.

- NZ Herald

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