Time can't pass fast enough for Grace Lauina this morning because she picks up the keys to her first home at noon today.
The Auckland mother-of-two, who is expecting another child with husband Mativa in December, will take the final step from a childhood in state housing onto the property ladder.
Her father Reverend Sefo Silipa always dreamed of buying a house for his family to inherit, but laboured under the financial pressure of supporting relatives in Samoa. Then, five years ago, tragedy struck.
He lost his life savings to a scam he thought was helping him save for a house.
But in 2016, when the family's dream of home ownership seemed further away than ever, Lauina and her husband took a personal finance course and sought help from the Tāmaki Regeneration project.
Three years later, they've reduced their debts and today move into a brand new, four-bedroom Glen Innes home they will have the chance to buy in shared ownership with charity NZ Housing Foundation.
"There are no words to describe it - we are so excited," Grace said.
"We've already driven past the home a million times, just looking from the outside."
The Lauinas aren't the only Auckland family getting a leg up. The Housing Foundation has helped about 50 low-income families into their first homes this year and more than 300 in the past eight years.
Yet after a decade of skyrocketing Auckland house prices that is just a drop in the ocean as many families remain locked out of the housing market.
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Reserve Bank figures released this week showed almost half of Auckland first-home buyers were paying off home loans five times greater than their annual salaries.
Before home buyers even get as far as a loan they have to raise huge deposits, while paying Auckland rents.
To help young Kiwi families on the path to home ownership, the Tāmaki Regeneration Company, an initiative jointly owned by the council and Government, runs money management courses with the Commission For Financial Capability.
The Lauinas took the seven-week course in 2016 with Tāmaki Regeneration staff continuing to help keep them on track.
The commission's Peter Cordtz said families that took the course in 2016 had managed to reduce debts as high as $50,000 in just a few years, before making the move into homes this year.
Mativa said the guidance helped his family distinguish between what they needed and what they wanted.
Fast food was now replaced by home-cooked meals, and $100 Nike T-Shirts by $10 shirts.
The family are also still paying off a car they had earlier bought on exorbitant interest repayment rates.
"It hurts, it's like buying two cars because of the interest - but we learnt from that," Mativa said.
Surrounded by packed boxes spilling over with toys and kitchen goods, the Lauinas are busy but thrilled when the Herald catches them the night before moving into their new home.
Their most recent rental home has only just had insulation and a heater put in, and the garage flooded every winter.
Turning on the modern heating in their new home will be a special moment, but it will also be tinged with sadness.
Grace's mum will move into the new home with the family but her dad passed away in February.
"It will be bittersweet because it was always his dream," she said.
And the journey isn't over once the Lauinas take the keys. For the first five years in their new home they will pay "an affordable rent" to the Housing Foundation set at 30 per cent of their income.
This will give them time to save money for a deposit and boost their KiwiSaver savings.
Then after five years, they can put these savings and their entitlement to 25 per cent of any equity gain in the house to apply for a home loan.
Typically, families are able to take out home loans for a 60 per cent share in the house with Housing Foundation retaining a 40 per cent share, the charity's general manager operations Dominic Foote said.
Most families then buy out Housing Foundation's remaining 40 per cent share in another five to six years, he said.
For the Lauinas' 8-year-old son Zion, the transition hasn't been smooth sailing - he was left a bit teary at having to part with his friends and change schools again.
"I told him, 'Sorry son, I won't be doing that to you again - this time we are settling for good'," Mativa said.