EDITORIAL: Last year the Government promised 100,000 Kiwibuild homes over 10 years. But this week it axed that target as part of a reset of the programme.
Now the Government has simply committed to building "as many houses as we can, as quickly as we can" and earmarked $400 million for a new "progressive homeownership" programme which could support up to 4000 households into homeownership.
Among other changes, the Government has also made it easier for first-home buyers to get government assistance, by dropping the required deposit for a government-based mortgage from 10 per cent, to 5 per cent.
So far, so good.
But where are these houses going and what on earth does "as quickly as we can" actually mean?
It doesn't matter how many houses are built unless they are affordable and that's not something that looks changeable.
One of the biggest hurdles first-home buyers face is availability. What use is a lower deposit requirement if buyers are locked out of markets by grant caps and stock?
A 5 per cent deposit is well and good but you still have to find the house.
The problem is both availability and the fact house prices continue to rise but the upper limit for houses bought using the First Home Grants remains fixed.
In Rotorua, it's $400,000 for an existing home and $500,000 for a new home, while in Tauranga it's $500,000 for an existing home and $550,000 for a new home.
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Homes below those limits get snapped up quickly and new builds are rarely in that price range, particularly as you add bells and whistles.
A look at OneRoof this week showed just 60 properties, excluding sections, for sale under $550,000 and just 51 in Rotorua under $400,000.
If you find one you like, you can bet your bottom dollar a handful of others like it too putting buyers in a multi-offer position which may push them out.
Let's hope "as many houses as we can, as quickly as we can" is enough for those first-home buyers.
When it comes to buying a home you either can afford it or you can't. And the reality is there are many who can't. In fact, this could be considered a slap in the face for the many families and individuals in emergency housing.
The latest figures show the Ministry of Social Development spent more than $3.3m in three months putting people up in motels in Rotorua.
We acknowledge the Government has announced a $54m funding package to help prevent and reduce homelessness with the money set to go towards initiatives supporting at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in stable housing.
But as of last month there were 12,311 people on the waiting list for state and community-provided housing.
Fixing these problems is a tall task and the housing crisis has no quick fix.