New KiwiBuild data has revealed less than half of the flagship programme's homes have sold since going on the market - and barely any of those outside Auckland.
The figures were released to the Herald ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle today in which all eyes will be on under-fire Housing and Urban Development minister Phil Twyford, the man in charge of the flailing policy.
The sales data shows while some kinds of homes - particularly cheaper, central Auckland apartments and three-and-four bedrooms homes have sold well - homes on the city fringe and in the regions are not as popular.
Out of the 271 homes offered for sale since the scheme made its first offer to market in September last year, 158 are currently up for grabs.
Of those unsold, 55 are in Christchurch - where just two homes have sold so far, and four have had to be bought back from developers because of the lack of sales.
Three homes in Wanaka - also owned by KiwiBuild - and all 10 in Te Kauwhata, in the Waikato, are also unsold. There are six out of 10 still for sale in the Kotata Heights development in Whangārei.
In Tauranga, there are nine out of 19 KiwiBuild homes unsold, however, some of those houses were only put on the market this month.
The Auckland picture is more complicated. The data shows while the initial tranche of 18 three and four-bedroom homes at the McLennan development near Papakura sold quickly - with huge interest in the ballot - further sales of two-bedroom homes in the development have been much slower, with most buyers purchasing through direct sales.
Three homes remain for sale at McLennan all around the $570k mark, and 23 at nearby Opaheke, although that development is not due for completion until later this year.
In Pukekohe, more than half of the stand-alone three-bedroom houses have sold since they were put up for sale for around $600k in March.
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Apartments are a mix - studio and one-bedroom apartments priced around $380k in Onehunga have sold; and around half of the mixed-price, one-or-two bedrooms in Mt Albert and Panmure are gone; but only one of the $580k two-bedrooms in the Mason development in Otahuhu have buyers at all, and have had to be bought back by the Government.
In Huapai, two $600k apartments are also unsold, and have also been bought back.
A Kiwibuild spokesperson said of those up for sale, 119 are still under construction, and 58 were only offered to market in the last month or so.
"'For sale', of course, does not mean 'won't sell'," he said. "Any home takes time to sell – median days to sell a home in New Zealand is 41 days, and KiwiBuild is in line with that."
"The acceleration in the number of homes being built and made available for sale means a growing number of homes are on offer."
He said marketing was under way or about to re-start on the 12 houses acquired through underwrite purchases.
Last week, Interest.co.nz speculated as to why some of the houses weren't selling, with writer Greg Ninness saying most of the homes outside Auckland have asking prices above the range accessible to first-home buyers - which is usually in the lower quartile of selling prices.
He said it was concerning that prices in Whangārei and most of Canterbury were "substantially" higher than the lower quartile prices for those districts, pushing them more into the middle price range rather than the affordable end of the market.
"That suggests that the open market may already be providing typical first home buyers more affordable options than the KiwiBuild homes in Whangārei and Canterbury," he said.
Economist Cameron Bagrie said the data illustrated the fundamental problem with the policy's execution - that it was done poorly.
"There's product on the market that there's not demand for. If the product is on the market at the right price, it will move. If it was quality product at the right price, then it would shift. And what you're seeing is the reserve," he said.
"If you look at what the Government was trying to achieve in response to affordable housing, this isn't the response. It's a poor policy and it's been poorly executed. KiwiBuild is a dog with fleas. And it's getting worse not getting better."
The Cabinet reshuffle is expected around 3pm today.
On Monday, when pressed on whether she still had confidence in Twyford, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leapt to his defence.
"He's done an incredible job with a very difficult area of work ... No Government has had to do this before or tried to do this before," she said.
KiwiBuild initially aimed to build 100,000 in 10 years, with 1000 by this July. So far, 266 are expected to be built by then.