‘ We’re excited’ – Auckland family buy progressive ownership home

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An Auckland family who are just months away from moving into a house bought through a shared ownership scheme say it has already drastically changed their lives.

The government on Friday announced the first phase of its $400 million progressive ownership scheme that it says will help up to 4000 families, who could not otherwise afford to buy a house.

Tony Seiuli, his wife and three children are due to move into a four bedroom newly built home in Flat Bush in October.

The Seiulis bought the $840,000 property with the help of the Housing Foundation in Auckland. The plan over time is to gradually buy out the foundation’s 20 percent stake.

“It’s an amazing home with an amazing view so we’re really excited, surrounded by huge homes. There’s also a reserve out there,” Seiuli said.

With his wife and three children, they had been trying to buy a home in Auckland for a long time, but it was too difficult with banks asking for 20 percent deposits on properties that were selling for more than $1 million.

“It was the Housing Foundation that helped us… It all depends on how much you can actually loan from the bank and how much deposit you have. You can … have up to 80 percent and they can own 20. The least amount you can loan for is 60 percent and they own 40. Obviously the more that you own the less you have to pay back.”

For the Seiulis, they will own 80 percent and the Housing Foundation will own 20 percent of the property.

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“They give you a certain amount of time, 10, 15 years to pay this back. They set you up with a plan how you pay it back and at the same time you’re paying a mortgage.

“Because they own the share which is 20 percent and I own 80 percent and the mortgage will be at, say $500,000, it’s less than paying rent.”

Over time the property will go up in value. The Seiulis therefore pay back an adjusted value to the foundation, “so obviously the sooner we pay it back the better.”

“When you have a look at some of these foundations online they actually tell you what areas they have houses in… and then you have to look at whether that house will be suitable for you, some of them will be duplexes, some of them will be apartments, some of them two bedroom, three bedroom, four bedroom.

“My daughter was already going to Mission Heights Junior High School which is a high decile school, which is in zone for the house.

“What we saw was this home had four bedrooms. Also it was in zone for my two young sons ready to go to school, and they’ve started now for Ormiston Primary School, which is a school just down the road from the house, walking distance, and that’s another high decile school so that’s how it worked for us.”

It is going to make a huge difference to the family, he told Checkpoint.

“Both my wife and I come from, brought up in, Housing New Zealand homes and our parents never owned their own home. So for us to leave a home there for our children’s future, and for them to be in a high decile school, we hope that one day they don’t have to worry about rent. They can take that and be able to loan to buy their own homes while they’re studying in university or whatnot, so that’ll be huge. We’re so looking forward to it. We’re excited.”

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The scheme will help community service providers scale up their operations, using shared equity, rent-to-buy or leasehold schemes.

It will have a focus on new builds and areas with severe housing affordability, Māori and Pacific people, and families with children will be prioritised.

“This isn’t just about building houses, this is about working with people who are otherwise excluded from home ownership,” Housing Minister Megan Woods told Checkpoint.

“This is a scale of progressive home ownership that we’ve not seen in New Zealand before,” she said.

She expects housing to be provided to 4000 families in the “next few years”.

“This has a 15-year recycle rate, we won’t take the full 15 years to spend that [$400m] money.

“What we’re seeing, what we’re hearing really strongly from the sector is this gives them a scale and a certainty that they’ve never had before in their ability to plan.”

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