More opportunities for first home buyers and renters


The Government’s landmark Progressive Home Ownership scheme will reach more potential first home buyers, by allowing existing homes to be bought, Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced.

“Since the PHO scheme was launched in 2020, hundreds of eligible families who would otherwise never have been able to own their own home, have been able to do so when they find new homes to buy, or get a new house built.

“We’re changing this to enable people who fit the PHO criteria, to buy existing homes as well. This will increase the choice of homes, including more affordable homes, in more locations.

“We’re also increasing the PHO income cap criteria for applicants from $130,000 to $150,000, reflecting recent wage growth, and broadening the income cap exemption for intergenerational families to include larger whānau.

“These changes will allow more people to take up the PHO scheme, which is New Zealand’s first such Government-backed initiative.

Introduced in 2020, the $400 million PHO scheme helps people into home ownership, particularly focusing on whānau with tamariki, Māori, and Pacific peoples. So far, 861 homes have been contracted, with 472 households moved in. The scheme is aiming to get at least 1,500 homes contracted by June 2024.

“These changes respond to the house price inflation that has occurred since the scheme’s launch which has had an impact on uptake, so will increase options for eligible households,” Megan Woods said.

Meanwhile the Government is enabling 92 affordable rentals around the country through six new partnerships under the Affordable Housing Fund.

“These projects are at various stages of development and will be delivered between July 2023 and June 2027 in Auckland, Rotorua, Hastings, Wellington, and Nelson, where there is significant rental stress.

“These partnerships will support and grow the affordable housing sector, who are critical to addressing the needs of New Zealanders who struggle to meet the cost of a market rental, but for various reasons can’t access public housing,” said Megan Woods.

A second funding round is currently underway with applications being evaluated in August.


Notes to Editors

Changes to PHO from 14 August 2023

  • allowing buyers to purchase existing homes to increase access to eligible households, giving them a greater choice of homes, including more affordable homes, and homes in more locations.
  • increasing the PHO income cap from $130,000 to $150,000, reflecting the recent wage growth for many while retaining the focus on supporting those who need it, particularly for those living in the main centres/living in places with higher house prices.
  • broadening the income cap exemption for intergenerational whānau to include larger whānau allowing any eligible whānau of at least six people who normally live together to purchase a home through PHO.
  • increasing flexibility of the timing of funding applications to allow PHO providers to proceed at a faster pace to make the best use of remaining time and funding.
  • extending the recyclability of funding under PHO from 15 to 20 years for rent-to buy and shared equity schemes, to reduce the cost to participants and to support more households.

About PHO

PHO is delivered through three pathways:

  • Te Au Taketake and the provider pathway - work with PHO providers who develop homes and work with whānau through leasehold, rent-to-buy and shared equity schemes.
  • First Home Partner is delivered through Kāinga Ora, which is a shared equity scheme targeted at households who can afford to service a standard mortgage but don’t have a large enough deposit or don’t qualify for a large enough home loan to purchase a suitable home. These households find a suitable home and buy out Kāinga Ora’s equity share over time.

More on PHO here.

About Affordable Housing Fund

The Affordable Housing Fund aims to increase the supply of affordable housing by:

  • providing grant funding to deliver new affordable rental housing through the Affordable rental pathway, and
  • securing affordable housing in build-ready developments that may not have gone ahead under current market conditions, through the Build-ready development pathway.
  • Round 1 - $50m: 92 homes across six centres/partnerships
  • Round 2 - $100m: Applications being evaluated

More on Affordable Housing Fund here.