A new financial assistance package to help Māori get into homeownership is being developed for next week's Budget.
Housing Minister Megan Woods hinted at the package in March when the Government unveiled its major housing policy changes, which included axing landlords' ability to claim mortgage interest-rate tax deductions.
"A further package specifically targeted at Māori housing is being developed for Budget 2021," Woods said on March 23.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has also signalled housing as a Budget 2021 target.
"Māori and Pacific communities have much lower rates of homeownership and will benefit from more affordable housing," Robertson said.
More than 15,000 government first-home grants were approved last year to help New Zealanders get financial assistance into homeownership.
Figures from Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities showed 15,228 first-home grant applications were approved for the year to December 2020.
Critics say the scheme is destined to fail due to income and house price restrictions.
The state agency figures showed that in Auckland, 860 applications were approved, 518 properties were bought and 719 grants were paid in last year's final quarter. For all of 2020, the agency said 2628 Auckland applications were approved, 1607 properties bought and 2273 grants paid.
On October 1, 2019, the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant became the First Home Grant.
The KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant replaced the KiwiSaver deposit subsidy from April 1, 2015. Like the KiwiSaver deposit subsidy, the First Home Grant provides eligible first-home buyers with a grant of up to $5000 to help buy an existing or older home.
The First Home Grant also provides each eligible first-home buyer with a grant of up $10,000 to help buy a new property - the grant is higher to encourage more new houses to be built.
First Home Loans are offered by lenders, supported by Kāinga Ora, and designed for first-home buyers who can afford to make regular repayments but have trouble saving for a large deposit.
First Home Loans only need a 5 per cent deposit, not a 10 or 20 per cent deposit as required by most lenders.
Kāinga Ora does not issue loans. That is done through lenders - selected banks and credit unions including Kiwibank. Kāinga Ora underwrites the loan for the lender. Individual applicants are required to meet the lender's specific lending criteria. Income and house price caps apply, the state agency said.
In March, Woods announced changes to the first-home buyer scheme that saw income caps to get financial assistance lifted from $85,000 to $95,000 for single buyers, and from $130,000 to $150,000 for two or more buyers.
The changes to the house price and income caps took effect on April 1.
Changes to regional price caps on new build and existing properties will also reflect the increased price of housing.
Critics say that is still not enough and only a small percentage of people are being helped.
"This package of measures will help first-home buyers into the market and boost activity and create jobs in the construction sector, as we recover from the impacts of Covid-19," Woods said at the time.
Woods said the Labour-led Government was building more state houses than ever before in this generation.
"We're on track to deliver over 18,000 public and transitional housing places by 2024. The $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, announced last month, will help stimulate more housing construction by funding necessary infrastructure for new land development," she said on April 23.
"We are using all available levers and supporting partnerships between the Ministry [of Housing and Urban Development], Kāinga Ora, iwi and Māori, community housing providers, local government, developers and the construction industry to get build more homes," Woods said.
Stats NZ said at the time of the 2018 Census, New Zealand's homeownership rates were at their lowest since the 1950s.
Homeownership peaked in the 1990s, at 73.8 per cent of households, but by 2018, homeownership had fallen to 64.5 per cent of households.
In 2013, the unadjusted homeownership rate for Māori adults in one-parent families was 12.1 per cent. When adjusted by age, it rises to 15.7 per cent. For Pacific people in one- parent families, the rates were 9.6 per cent and 12.1 per cent, respectively. 5 per cent of the population, Stats NZ said.