The odds of claiming a KiwiBuild home are far better than walking away with a winning Lotto ticket, Housing Minister Phil Twyford says.
Twyford made the comment after a week of attacks on the home building scheme, including claims it was a form of Government-sponsored Lotto that would bring wealth to a select group of first-home buyers.
But Twyford said 1 in 5 of those who applied for the first 18 KiwiBuild homes released in Papakura in South Auckland last month were successful.
About 1 in 20 applicants were then successful in the follow-up release of 25 KiwiBuild apartments in Onehunga.
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The odds of winning Lotto's first division are 1 in 3.8 million. For Powerball it is 1 in 38 million..
"Winning a KiwiBuild ballot may feel 'like winning Lotto', but the chances are so much higher," Twyford said.
"People who enter a ballot for a KiwiBuild have a good chance of being successful."
Criticism of KiwiBuild and its plans to build 100,000 affordable houses for first-home buyers has included the question of just who would end up with the properties.
The first batch of three bedroom KiwiBuild homes in Papakura sold for $649,0000 last month.
Data from property analysts CoreLogic estimated these prices were up to $100,000 cheaper than similar homes in the area, meaning buyers appeared to be set for a bargain.
To be eligible to purchase a KiwiBuild property, first-home buyers had to meet pre-qualification conditions.
These included having an income less than $120,000 for one person and $180,000 for joint applicants, an intention to live in the home for at least three years and pre-approval for a bank loan.
Those successfully meeting these conditions then went into a ballot where the buyers names were drawn at random.
Eighty-eight entries made the ballot for the 18 Papakura homes and 427 "pre-qualified" entries went into the ballot for the 25 Onehunga apartments.
But when graduate doctor Derryn Jayne and partner Fletcher Ross, a marketer, were named as successful buyers in Papakura, critics questioned whether they were too wealthy to be helped into a discounted home.
These questions were exacerbated by recent estimates by lobby group Community Housing Aotearoa that KiwiBuild homes were likely to be too expensive for as many as 200,000 Kiwi families.
These included the families of teachers, nurses, police officers, administrators, baristas and cleaners.
However, Twyford said the recent Papakura and Onehunga ballots showed the scheme was not a lottery and that applicants had a good chance of getting a home.
While 44,000 people had registered interest in buying a KiwiBuild home on the Government's website, the figures showed not everyone was rushing to enter every ballot of new homes that were offered up, he said.
"The Government has purposely tried to avoid a stampede for KiwiBuild houses by emphasising this is a long-term programme and making sure everyone who enters a ballot is eligible," he said.
While not everyone would be able to afford a KiwiBuild home, he said the programme was aimed at helping those "who have traditionally expected to be able to buy their first home, but have been locked out of the market".
"A couple each on a salary of $50,000 can afford a KiwiBuild home in Auckland even at the top price cap of $650,000 for a three bedroom home," he said.
"The price of affordable KiwiBuild homes across the country will often be much lower than that.
"Several banks, such as ASB, BNZ and KiwiBank are offering 5 per cent minimum deposit to make it even easier for KiwiBuild home buyers."
For buyers not able to afford the cost of an up to $600,000 mortgage for a KiwiBuild home, the Government has also flagged it is working on a new shared-ownership programme.
This is likely to involve the Government or banks buying homes in partnership with lower income Kiwis by paying a share of the upfront cost of the houses.
By having the Government take a stake in their home, the buyer would then have a smaller home loan and reduced mortgage payments. At a later date, they could buy the home outright.