Jacinda Ardern says she does not want New Zealand to be a place where home ownership is determined on whether a person's parents can fork out a deposit.
New Zealand’s median house price has continued to soar, with Auckland hitting $1 million in October, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data released today.
"We want to ensure that our first home buyers can get into the market. That is something that is top of mind for us," Ardern said today.
"I don’t want home ownership in New Zealand to be determined, for instance, whether or not your parents can lend you a deposit. That’s not the New Zealand we believe in."
On the issue of pulling together deposits, Ardern said schemes such as the Welcome Home Loan "can and will make a difference".
The Welcome Home Loan scheme and the First Home Loan grant are reliant on a house being under the regional price cap - which sits at $650,000 for Auckland (which has a median house price of $1 million) and $550,000 for Wellington (which has a median house price of $785,000).
The median house price across New Zealand has increased by 19.8 per cent, from $605,000 in October last year to $725,000.
Ardern said she wants to look into overcoming "that big, significant hurdle" of pulling together a deposit.
She said she kept a close eye on the data around first home buyers.
"We’ve actually seen an increase since 2017 and at the same time we’ve seen the number of investors in the market staying about the same
"That’s not to say we’re not concerned around what’s happening with prices and that accessibility.
"For us, we have to make sure we’re continuing to build houses, that we’re making it as easy as possible for developers to be building houses and we know in that space there’s a lot to do."
National's Nicola Willis called the increase in house prices "utterly unsustainable" and said it "puts at risk the home ownership aspirations of tens of thousands of New Zealanders".
"After three years of wasted effort and energy on the KiwiBuild failure, the Government must turn its attention to addressing the underlying planning and infrastructure challenges that have strangled New Zealand’s housing supply for far too long."
She said National would work with Government to reform the Resource Management Act, which addresses such issues.
"We can’t afford to wait for three more years of reports and working groups. What’s needed now is action," she said.