You'll be able to earn up to $180,000 as a couple to qualify for one of the Government's new 100,000 KiwiBuild affordable homes, but to get in you'll need to enter a ballot - and be a Kiwi or resident.

Phil Twyford, Housing and Urban Development Minister, has just revealed the terms and conditions of the new scheme aimed to develop 50,000 new Auckland homes.

If you're elibile for KiwiBuild or want to receive information about it, register your interest here.

Twyford said 1000 KiwiBuild residences would be built in 2018/19, 5000 in 2019/20, 10,000 in 2020/21 and 12,000 a year average through to 2028.

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Today is a milestone in the Government's ambitious programme to restore affordable home ownership, Twyford said.

"With the first KiwiBuild homes on track to be completed shortly and many more in the pipeline, we are now at a stage where the KiwiBuild Unit can open its doors and invite people in.

"People can check the eligibility criteria and will soon be able to pre-qualify for the first homes currently being constructed and the thousands more that will be built by KiwiBuild in the years ahead," he said.

"All eligible buyers will have an equal chance to own a KiwiBuild home at cost price through a ballot system."

The eligibility criteria for KiwiBuild home buyers are:

• First-home buyers or "second chancers";
• New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or those who ordinarily reside in New Zealand;
• Intend to own, and live in it, for at least three years;
• Income below $120,000 for sole purchasers and $180,000 for couples.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) welcomed the announcement by Twyford but wished a higher allocation was given to low income earners.

"Today's announcement will give thousands of New Zealanders hope that one day they may actually be able to afford a home that they can call their own. With home ownership at its lowest point in 60 years, the KiwiBuild programme will help many young people and those on lower incomes to get a foot on the property ladder," said Bindi Norwell, chief executive at REINZ.

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"One modification that we would like to see however, is a percentage of the properties to be allocated to low income earners. This would ensure that those who really need it the most, for example a single parent working two part time jobs to support their family, will have a higher chance of having their name pulled out of the ballot than a single person earning $120,000."

KiwiBuild house buyers will be required to hold their new homes for a minimum three years but exemptions will be allowed in some circumstances, Twyford revealed.

"Life throws curveballs and if they need to sell within three years, they can seek an earlier sale or other alternative arrangements," he said of buyers who had a sudden change of circumstances and could no longer be KiwiBuild owners.

"We know that New Zealanders at and below these incomes are struggling to buy a home, especially in high demand areas such as Auckland and Queenstown," Phil Twyford said.

"For instance, a couple of teachers may have a combined income of between $150,000 and $170,000. For a nurse and police officer earning upwards of $120,000, and for an engineer living alone, $90,000. A decade ago these families would have been able to afford a home, but they are now locked out of the market."

Research shows that when adjusted for inflation the median priced Auckland home now costs $650,000 more than 25 years ago.

In March 2018 the median house price was $851,250 up from $433,813 in March 2009. In addition to Queenstown and Auckland, other areas which have traditionally had steady house price growth, such as Whangarei, are also experiencing large growth.

These price rises have a particularly big impact on younger New Zealanders, who are struggling to make it into the housing market.

Overall, only a quarter of adults under 40 own their own home, compared to half in 1991.

This week marks the official start of the KiwiBuild programme where homes built under the programme will count towards the Government's official target.

"In the first year, we will deliver 1000 KiwiBuild homes, with the full ramp-up of production reaching 5000 homes by June 2020 and 10,000 homes by June 2021," Twyford said.

"This is the largest state-backed home building programme in generations."

KiwiBuild faces five major challenges, Twyford admitted to this morning's conference: "land availability, workforce constraints, consenting time frames, development and build times and growth capacity constraints," his overhead image showed.

But he cited the Housing NZ Corp development at Auckland's McLennan estate at Papakura as the first KiwiBuild success where the first 30 homes are being built and three-bedroom places are being sold for around $579,000 each "and we will have families moving in October".

"Auckland has some of the most expensive urban land in the world relative to incomes," Twyford said.

Is the $180,000 figure too high?

The $180,000 KiwiBuild household income threshold has been set that high because the programme is "not welfare, but an aspirational middle-class policy," Twyford said.

Asked at today's conference about why the income limit was so high, Twyford explained more.

"We want to make it available to as broad a range as possible of young Kiwi families," he said citing an $81,000 median national household income.

"That's why we're developing a shared equity programme," he said of plans to ease entry via financial arrangements with assistance planned from third parties who will take an equity share in mortgages.

But Helen O'Sullivan of apartment developer Ockham said the limits should be phased out over time.

"The idea of KiwiBuild is to move the market. There should be no income criteria limits at all. The reality is we have a constrained market and most of what we build is expensive, over $1m," she said.

Having no income threshold would make the scheme available to more people, she said.

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